CITY streets, villages and housing estates will be safer following news that the Government is to back a major expansion of Chester's closed circuit television, bringing the amount available for a safer city to almost £1.3m.
Chester Community Safety Partnership has scooped £800,000 to help pay for the installation of a city centre fibre optic cable network, 12 new cameras and the repositioning of two cameras already operating in the city centre.
The funding has been welcomed by Chester MP Christine Russell, who said: 'This new funding is in addition to the £470,000 awarded to the Chester Community Partnership earlier this year through the Home Office CCTV initiative.
'The new control centre will allow the police and other partners to have a highly visual presence in the city centre and the new mobile cameras will be used in crime and anti-social behaviour 'hot spots' across the district.
'The fibre optic loop will be used to link existing security systems to provide 24 hour surveillance and allow other key agencies, such as the Chester and District Housing Trust, to plug in their cameras to the system.
'I know from my postbag and from meetings with local people that fear of crime is something residents want to see addressed as a matter of urgency. Rapid reaction to crime hotspots in the district and the targeting of street crime and antisocial behaviour in the city centre will be warmly welcomed.'
The fibre optic network will improve efficiency by supplying high quality images to a new control and monitoring facility. The go-ahead means the network will also cost less than renting CCTV systems while helping to provide the infrastructure for future joint arrangements with other networks.
A separate bid for £55,000 to fund a mobile CCTV unit has also been given the thumbs up. Identified rural and urban areas across the district suffer effects of serious anti-social behaviour, vehicle crime and burglary.
The travelling cameras will be used to target crime and anti-social behaviour 'hot spots'.
City councillor John Price, chair of the Community Safety Partnership, made up of Chester City Council, Cheshire County Council, Chester and Ellesmere Port Police, City Centre Management and representatives from other public service providers, said: 'This is serious money with the potential to make a real difference. It will reduce crime and just as importantly, it will make Chester feel a safer place to live, work or visit.'
Last year the city got £470,000 for CCTV cameras for city car parks and a new control room.