St. Albans City Press Relase 19 September 2017
An eagle-eyed CCTV operator led police to a man suspected of stealing from a charity box in a St Albans church.
A description of the individual was issued by police after he was seen behaving suspiciously at St Peter's Church.
Less than an hour later, the suspect was arrested after a CCTV operator spotted him near shops half-a-mile away. Mr S, age 50, of no fixed abode, was charged with theft following the incident. He is due to appear at St Albans Magistrates Court on Tuesday 26 September. St Albans City and District Council has a CCTV system that covers the City Centre and other locations. Operators support the police and alert them to any criminal activity they spot on screen. The recorded footage can be used as evidence in court.
Among other CCTV successes this year was the arrest of four suspected shoplifters in separate incidents that were not noticed by the stores. It also helped catch three men who had allegedly just committed a robbery, one man seen tampering with a cash machine and a drunk driver.
The CCTV system, provided by a contractor, has been in operation since 2001 to deter criminals and help solve crimes. It is being upgraded to a digital service to improve the quality of the images used to monitor incidents and identify suspects. The analogue cameras are being replaced with 4K HD digital ones with enhanced zoom capacity.
Beric Read, the Council's Portfolio Holder for Business and the Community, said: "Our CCTV operators do an outstanding job in supporting the police and making our streets safer. In this case, the operator managed to track down a suspect just from a description.
"It is another example of how effective a CCTV system can be."
St Albans Chief Inspector Shane O'Neill of Hertfordshire Constabulary said: "CCTV footage is an additional resource and provides irrefutable evidence to help us solve crime.
"CCTV operators play an important role in keeping the City safe and we work closely with St Albans City and District Council."