A NEW CCTV camera has been put up in a bid to curb drug dealing in an area of Southend.
The camera has been installed in Hastings Road, in the Kursaal ward, which looks directly at the railway underpass which comes out at Lancaster Gardens.
Residents originally tried to close the underpass after they said the area was becoming a no-go zone.
They described the area as “intimidating”
and said the cameras were the first result of new community group Residents’ Association Watch, which has been set up to make the area safer and garner community spirit.
Keith Kelsey, 39, of Kilworth Avenue, Southend, said: “The alleyway is seen as a no-go zone. There are a lot of addicts down there and there have been attacks down there too.
“The police are down there every couple of hours and doing a really good job. Network Rail has also put the area down as a priority to clear all the bushes so there will be nowhere to hide.
“Councillor Judith McMahon was a big help to sort this out.
“As soon as the camera was installed police have been coming down. They are now one step ahead of the troublemakers. Hopefully now they will be seen by police on a Friday and in front of magistrates on a Monday.”
The camera has been set up or a six-month trial when its effectiveness will be reviewed, but Mr Kelsey believes it will stay, after already having a positive effect with more police turning out.
John Cooper, of the residents’ group, added: “Quite often, when you go down there you will see people hanging around waiting to buy drugs.
“It’s not nice for the residents. It’s intimidating, particularly for mums with children.
“There is a lot of school traffic which goes down there with families on their way to Porters’ Grange School.
“You don’t want children to see that going on, but the parents have to just lump it, because the alternative route is a lot longer. Hopefully, this will be a move in the right direction as it is something people have wanted for a long time.”
New signs have also been installed around all six of the cameras already installed in York Road after demands for even more surveillance were made following the fatal stabbing of Hassam Mohammed Ibrahim.
York Road now has the largest saturation of cameras in Southend.
Chief Insp Simon Anslow, district commander for Southend, said: “We have put some visible signs up to make sure people know there are cameras around. We are also still running Operation Booth to offer reassurance to residents after the fatal stabbing.”