Council acts to change CCTV arrangements
NEW governance arrangements for hundreds of council CCTV cameras in Carmarthenshire are being recommended.
The authority wants to ensure it’s complying with Uk-wide regulations requiring a clear rationale for all cameras, proportionate and transparent use, and effectively-run systems.
The council has in excess of 90 CCTV systems with more than 600 cameras in premises, plus 79 vehicles with around 250 cameras, and also approximately 25 body-worn cameras.
Departments use surveillance camera devices within council premises, car parks and on roads.
Carmarthenshire Council’s policy and resources committee has approved a corporate policy for CCTV camera systems in public places, although a final decision will be made by the executive board.
The policy does not cover covert filming or cameras in schools, but schools will be asked to adopt the policy’s principles.
A report before the committee said the escalating use of recording devices generally in public places played a useful role in preventing and detecting crime, but also led to greater intrusion into the private lives of people going about their lawful business.
“This policy aims to set out standards relating to the use of such equipment that maximises effectiveness whilst at the same time minimises interference with the privacy of individuals whose images are captured by the devices,” it said.
Cameras must be visible, and care taken that cameras do not capture images or sounds of private spaces such as private houses.
Covert filming has to be authorised under separate legislation.
Cllr Ken Howell asked if there was co-operation between the council and Dyfed-powys Police, given the latter has around 150 cameras in town centres across the force area.
A council officer said there was collaboration, and added that there was a clear period in which to capture and discard images.
She also said that any new requests for cameras would come through the council’s senior responsible officer for CCTV compliance.
EVEN if you don’t recall the precise details, somewhere in the dark recesses of your memory you’ll remember the name of the Long Island, NY, town called Amityville, where something ‘spooky’ supposedly happened in a family home that spawned articles, books and several films.
Closer to home – in fact just a stone’s throw from my place, which explains all my broken windows – something that defies rational explanation apparently occurred in Ammanford.
But let’s go back to the house at 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, where just before Christmas 1974, Mr & Mrs Lutz and their three children moved in, aware that a horrendous crime had been committed in the house 18 months before.
But because the price was so reasonable they went ahead with the purchase.
Twenty-eight days later they moved out and never went back.
In 1977 Jay Anson wrote a book called The Amityville Horror about the apparently bizarre experiences the Lutz family endured during those 28 days.
Then came the film, followed by numerous sequels, prequels and threequels.
In 2017, a Mr and Mrs Tait bought a house in Ammanford accessed through a narrow alleyway, which they intended to turn into a B&B.
Nothing ‘strange’ happened in the house until a year later when Mrs Tait says she heard unsettling sounds of women and children screaming coming from the basement.
Mr Tait made recordings of these screams and other odd sounds, including men talking in an unidentifiable foreign language, a printing press and police sirens, which all emanated from a hole in the basement.
The Taits have never claimed these sounds were of supernatural origin and to this day are completely perplexed as to where they came from.
However, you won’t be surprised to learn they moved out in 2018, bought a camper van and have travelled around the UK since.
The house has recently been bought at auction for £90,000.
Does anyone out there have a rational explanation regarding the source of these weird sounds?
Because if no-one has, when I get time I’d like to write a book called The Ammanford-ville Horror and sell the film rights for a couple of million . . . .