A REVIEW of out-of-town CCTV has been launched after the Gazette revealed cameras near where a student was murdered have been broken for years.
Colchester has a sophisticated network of CCTV in the town centre but large gaps in coverage across other parts of the borough.
Two CCTV cameras close to the spot where Nahid Al-Manea was stabbed on Colchester’s Salary Brook Trail last month have been out of action for at least two-and-a-half years.
The cameras were bought by the now-defunct Colchester Crime and Disorder Partnership, which could not afford to repair them after flood damage.
Colchester town centre has more than 100 CCTV cameras monitored constantly, but cameras outside the network are hit and miss.
They are owned and operated by a number of private and public groups and produce images of varying quality.
It is not known how often they are monitored, or if they work.
Pamela Donnelly, chairman of the Safer Colchester Partnership, said: “We are undertaking a review into the operation of CCTV cameras installed when the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership was operating.
“The review will explore the effectiveness of these cameras and consider costs associated with any repairs and ongoing maintenance required for efficient operation.
“Once this review is complete, the results will be taken to the Safer Colchester Partnership, for the attention of the responsible authorities.”
Tim Young, Colchester councillor responsible for community safety, said its town centre network was one of the best in the country.
In the past year it has helped police arrest 374 suspects, as well as assisting in finding missing people and alerting ambulance staff to injured people.
The arrests have included a drunk driver who led police on a chase and drug dealers near Firstsite.
Mr Young said: “It is one of the best networks in the region, if not the country. It is vital for security and safety and makes a big difference on a daily basis.’’ The town centre system will not be rolled out further because the fibre optic network is restricted and the cost would be prohibitive.
A council spokesman said: “With a limit on the amount of funding available for CCTV, the network has been designed to focus on the area of greatest need for the service, that being the town centre.
Nahid Al-Manea, 31, of Woodrow Way, Colchester, was stabbed 16 times on the Salary Brook Trail.
She was found on Tuesday, June 17 at 10.39am.
Cameras in an underpass metres away were broken, so could not pick up people arriving at or
leaving the scene.
They had been broken for up to three years.
Detectives trying to find Nahid’s killer, and solve the murder of Jim Attfield, 33, of East Bay, Colchester, near Colchester’s Castle Park on March 29, have been hampered by fuzzy or missing images.
Some images of potential witnesses were picked up on the Middle Mill council camera on the night of Mr Attfield’s death, but seven people pictured have still not come forward.
He was stabbed more than 100 times.
Anyone with information about the murders call the incident room on 01245 282103.
Alternatively Crimestoppers is offering a £10,000 reward for information leading to the killer being caught and convicted.
Any information given is anonymous.
Call 0800 555111 if you can help.