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Council announces CCTV use in crackdown against dog fouling and littering

Thursday, 22 June 2017

STRABANE'S dog fouling and littering woes could soon be alleviated with the introduction of mobile CCTV cameras.

Derry City and Strabane Council has confirmed the temporary/mobile CCTV cameras will be used in public spaces where there are problems with dog control and other environmental crime such as dog fouling and litter.

The move was rubber-stamped at a meeting of council's Health and Communities Committee on Thursday where councillors were presented with a report outlining the scheme and plans for its roll-out.

The scheme is being piloted for up to six weeks in the Rosemount area of the city but the council says the mobile CCTV will be used across the entire council area, irrespective of the pilot, with the approval enabling the cameras to be used in future with a Privacy Impact Statement being reviewed annually.

They will be positioned with appropriate signage which enables members of the public to see both the camera and warning signage.

The dramatic measure is part of a project aimed at tackling ongoing issues with dog control and littering across the council area.

Members of the committee were told by the head of council's Health, Community and Wellbeing, Seamus Donaghy, that Derry City and Strabane District Council, like most councils in Northern Ireland, receives a significant number of complaints each year regarding dog control and in particular dog fouling and that despite the installation of additional dog fouling bins and signage, education and enforcement initiatives, there are still significant dog fouling problems in many streets, parks and popular walkways.

However, despite the volume of complaints it emerged that not one single prosecution has been prosecuted for allowing their dogs to foul on local streets.

Mr Donaghy explained: "Members of the public are routinely encouraged to contact the council dog wardens with locations of fouling and any additional information that will help identify irresponsible dog owners; including particular times of the day that fouling occurs.

"There are many instances however where offenders cannot be identified or even the times of the day determined when the fouling offence occurs.

"An additional method of gathering information such as the temporary use of CCTV cameras in particular areas would be particularly useful for capturing instances of fouling occurring late at night or early in the morning.

He said that the proposed mobile/temporary CCTV cameras are to be utilised in areas where dog fouling has been identified as a significant problem in the hope that it will deter environmental crime such as littering in local neighbourhoods.

"The cameras will be determined on the basis of observations and service requests by enforcement officers and will be positioned in suitable locations with appropriate signage so that the public are aware of their existence and purpose," he added.

Welcoming the decision, the chairman of the Health and Community Committee, Alderman Drew Thompson, said he was pleased to see the council stepping up its efforts to deal with littering and dog fouling and he was confident this scheme would complement the work that is already been done through raising awareness and education.

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