Encrypted fly-tipping cameras purchased in attempt to stamp out waste dumping menace in Central Bedfordshire

Cllr John Baker and Cllr Mark Versallion had been lobbying CBC over the problems in their wards.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 1:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 9:38 am

Encrypted fly-tipping cameras have been purchased to catch criminals in the act, much to the delight of two ward councillors who are determined to stamp out the problem in Central Bedfordshire.

Councillor John Baker, of Aspley and Woburn ward, and Councillor Mark Versallion, of Heath and Reach ward, told the LBO that they had been lobbying CBC for months over the problems in their wards and the need for covert filming in the district.

CBC had to stop using its previous cameras last year because they did not comply with GDPR regulations, so the two councillors kept residents updated and urged the council to buy new cameras as soon as possible.

Cllr Versallion and Cllr Baker

Cllr Baker told the LBO: "Both Cllr Versallion and I were very concerned about the sheer amount of fly tipping taking place in our wards. They [the criminals] kept coming back to a number of problem places in Aspley Guise.

"The encryption is the interesting part; officers said that with normal cameras someone could walk away with the micro-SD card, so they were concerned about data privacy.

"But they managed to find cameras with the technology to encrypt the SD-cards.

"We need to have cameras and catch people, rather than just being reactive and paying for material to be taken away. You can't always find evidence of who dumped it."

Fly-tipping in Cllr Versallion's ward.

Councillor Baker added: "My advice to residents would be to ask for the details of the person who is taking your rubbish away, their licence and number plate. If they are honestly taking it to the tip, they should have no problem. Otherwise, if the rubbish is dumped and it's yours, you could end up in trouble."

Cllr Mark Versallion, said: "Fly-tipping has been an issue for the last few years and I think it's been getting visibly worse.

"I was persuading officers at the council and was told that it wasn't a priority. But people pay their taxes and they want their community kept tidy.

"It's normally down country lanes or farm tracks - you see sofas, mattresses, bags of rubbish.

Regular fly-tipping, north of Aspley Guise.

"I am grateful and relieved that the new cameras will be coming."

Both councillors thanked Central Bedfordshire Council for spending the money, and thanked the public for reporting fly-tipping.

The cameras will be deployed in hot spot areas in Central Bedfordshire.

In 2019, CBC issued five fixed penalty notices for fly-tipping. In 2020, it issued 55.

A Central Bedfordshire Council spokeswoman, said: “As part of a pilot project, we have purchased some small cameras to help tackle the problem of fly-tipping, which is a criminal offence. Once we have met all the legal requirements granting us the authority to use the covert cameras, we will deploy the cameras in hot-spot locations initially.

"We will be regularly monitoring their impact so we can assess if they meet our requirements before purchasing more cameras. The cameras are encrypted to protect data should they be stolen.

"Deployment of cameras will be in accordance with all legislative requirements including the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.”