‘Ring of steel’ around Redbridge: £1.5m CCTV cameras installed to fight crime

Redbridge Council have started to install ANPR and CCTV cameras. Picture:Clive Gee

Redbridge Council have started to install ANPR and CCTV cameras. Picture:Clive Gee - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Residents were petrified to live in their own homes at the beginning of 2018 after a spike in violent burglaries which saw new incidents reported almost daily.

Groups of residents set up Whatsapp groups and patrolled the streets to protect their area.

“It is not our job to do it but we have to protect the community,” one man said at a Clayhall Crime meeting at the start of the year.

In fact the atmosphere was charged on Sunday, February 5, as hundreds of residents braved cold temperatures to speak to Ilford North MP Wes Streeting and councillors about what could be done to avert the number of burglaries.

“You need to prioritise the people of Redbridge - we need something done today,” said a woman in the crowd.

The sheer will for change almost radiated from residents, as they made sure politicians and representatives fully answered their questions.

People power and community cohesion was out in full force and it was a positive thing to see at the meeting, although it is a shame it came from an issue which is so terrible.

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“My 11-year-old does not keep fiction books under the bed - do you know what he keeps?” said one mum to the crowd

“He keeps hockey sticks.

“He has an evacuation plan where he takes his seven-year-old sister and a phone to the bathroom if we get burgled.

“We shouldn’t feel this unsafe in our own home.”

Another resident said that children were openly talking about action plans for when their home gets raided and added: “It is not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’ our house will be burgled.

“We feel like we are just waiting for our turn.”

“What are we meant to do if someone tries to get in, the police don’t come out when we call 999 - what practically can we do?”

Redbridge Council has begun installing high-tech number plate recognition cameras, delivering on its pledge to improve safety and tackle crime.

The £1.5million project to catch criminals got underway last week with 18 cameras going live.

A total of 41 Automatic Number Plate Registration (ANPR) cameras will be installed over the coming days followed by 14 digital display boards showing car registrations as you enter the borough.

This latest crime-fighting initiative from the local authority received overwhelming support in a recent public consultation, with more than 96 per cent in favour of more ANPR cameras.

“The council has been working with the police to determine the total number of cameras needed and their location,” a Redbridge Council spokesman said.

“The council’s CCTV system is also undergoing a digital upgrade ensuring cameras get the best evidence to catch criminals.”

Council leader Councillor Jas Athwal said he was delighted to deliver on his administration’s election pledge to install new high-tech CCTV and ANPR, creating a “ring of steel” around the borough.

“These cameras will improve safety and help tackle all forms of crime, including environmental crime such as fly-tipping,” he said.

“The technology means police can stop and intercept a vehicle, check for evidence and make arrests.

“The use of ANPR has proved to be a useful deterrent in other boroughs and very helpful in the detection of offences, where they occur.

“We all know that council and police resources are limited after endless government cuts but we will not let this prevent us from serving the residents of Redbridge and providing the services they deserve.”

Pritesh Patel of Sovereign Safe Deposit, Goodmayes, said at the start of the year the demand for his goods had really increased.

“January saw us receive unprecedented enquiries - a direct reaction to the wide sharing on social media of frightening news reports and malicious footage captured during some of these recent burglaries, notably in IG5 locations,” he said.

“I hate that it has to be this way, I grew up in the area attending Beal High School and it pains me greatly that my area is now under a very viscous threat.

“It was however great to see a community stand together today at very short notice at the meeting - clearly, the topic is of heightened concern.”