ILKLEY'S early intervention and prevention officer with West Yorkshire Police has backed calls for CCTV to be installed in the town.

PC Sam Hollings said in the first week in his new role he had seen local interest in the security measure through local press, social media, crime reports and Neighbourhood Watch members.

Last week Councillor Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley) called for the installation of security cameras following vandal attacks on cars parked in the town's main car park on Friday evening.

PC Hollings said: "I am pleased that Councillor Anne Hawkesworth has also seen the need and value in CCTV and I welcome her support. The inclusion of CCTV will support the council and the police in keeping the town safe.

"I am pleased to report that Ilkley and the Wharfe valley continue to have statistically lower crime than the rest of West Yorkshire. But we must not be complacent in our approach to crime and criminality in the area. The police will always pursue active lines of enquiry in a criminal investigation, but I have noticed that Ilkley, in comparison to other neighbouring areas of the district, has no council CCTV as an investigative tool.

"CCTV these days is paramount as an investigative tool in all crime types. It can make the difference between a detected crime and a missed opportunity. The police will always take primacy in dealing with crime but we cannot be everywhere all the time.

"Bradford Council has a dedicated team of camera operators skilled in the use of cameras around the district, these operators can contact police control centres directly. The camera systems allow a passive 24/7 recording system with footage centrally stored at a secure location. The systems are also routinely monitored by the operators who can take control of the individual cameras and direct resources to where they are needed.

"West Yorkshire Police have tried and tested systems for the local and district circulation of suspect images gained from camera systems, eg

"Caught on camera is a particularly useful tool for the police, especially where a suspect may have travelled from another area or district where they may not be immediately recognised locally.

"Ilkley does on occasion suffer from offenders who travel to our town to commit crime. CCTV will act as both a deterrent to criminals and a helpful tool in detecting and identifying them afterwards.

"I started the survey - - in order to get some kind of feeling for what kind of local reception the concept of CCTV installation might receive.

"Although these figures change daily, around 300 people have completed the survey and 90 per cent were supportive of the idea. Some people also used the survey to ask for wider coverage of Riverside Gardens and Ilkley park as well as Brook Street, The Grove and West Street car park.

"I have asked for the matter to be discussed at council level so that feasibility and costings can be considered."