Events have become interesting in the debate over the CCTV scheme that is currently managed by the Balsall Heath Forum, in conjunction with a Home Office scheme to reduce crime ? and getting local residents involved.

In the Balsall Heathan April edition there were a two letters published; one from the CCTV volunteers to our then councillors and one from a “police station volunteer” Gweneth Carragher. Both letters took offense to an alleged suggestion that the cameras were not functioning and were not monitored. Gweneth stated that any organisation or group could come and visit the facility by appointment.

Click here to download the letters printed in the Heathan

The rumour that was referred to both letters was a point raised by Sammi Ibrahem of United We Stand at a recent ward meeting. The basis of the point was the fact that local resident Anna Forero’s home was burgled in Dec 2005; an incident that was reported on this site.

Click here to see articles 060001 and 060006.

At the time Ms. Forero had asked the police to check the CCTV footage to see in the burglars were caught on tape, after all the burglars stole all of her computer equipemnt and took a blanket to carry it all in.

In February Inspector Geoff Mourton responded to Ms.Feroro’s query by letter, in which he stated that “the cameras are not always monitored, and are left in ‘at rest’ positions”.

Click here to see the letter sent to Ms.Feroro by Inspector Mourton.

Later the same month Inspector Mourton sent another letter to Ms.Feroro telling that there was no footage relating to the burglary. The ambiguity in the letter is that he doesn’t say whether there is no footage of the date in question, whether the footage was been taped over or whether the footage doesn’t show anything.

However if this letter is related back to his previous letter then it can be assumed that there is no footage at all of the date in question.

Click here to see Inspector Mourtons follow-up letter

So it can been seen now that what has been referred to as a “rumour” is in fact not a rumour but a serious point of fact that needs to be addressed. Who in this case is being significantly liberal with the facts of the matter?

Who are we to believe? Mr.Ibrahem stresses that he has tried to call the CCTV monitoring room at Edward Rd police station on several times at random times and no-one has ever picked up the phone, which suggests that there is no-one there to pick up the phone. If that is the case then the letter from the CCTV volunteers cannot state the cameras are monitored “24/7” because if whoever is there leaves the room for a moment the cameras are not monitored for that moment.

This is an intriguing dilemma for residents. We have two organisations who both profess to working for our community and local residents, but one of the two cannot be trusted!!!.

Mr Ibrahem has responded to the Heathan letters himself by writing a letter to the then Sparkbrook Ward councillors and Ms.Feroro wrote back to the police with her concerns. Both have provided Fightbak with their respective letters for scrutiny.

Click here to see Mr Ibrahems letter

Click here to see Ms.Forero’s letter

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