We won't ring the changes!
Posted on December 27, 2006
Anger over alarm scheme grows, but householders are firmly told that there will be no shift on the controversial burglar alarm notification policy that's being introduced in the district.
That was the resounding message from South Beds District Council after Gazette readers flagged up their fears that the information database being created could be a valuable resource for criminals.
A petition has already been mounted calling for the council to prolong its condultation period.
The main organiser Alan Woolridge, who lives in Eaton Bray, has been calling on people with security concerns to withhold or withdraw details about the people with keys to their homes until the matter is given more consideration.
He could face a fine himself, as he has refused to submit full details of the people who have keys to his home.
But a statement from the council said: "We have received some enquiries but we have only had two formal requests for details to be removed from the database.
"Over 4,000 residents have registered keyholder details with us and we have received only a small number of complaints in comparison, therefore we do not think it is necessary to reconsider introducing the scheme.
"This is a positive step to reduce noise buisance and improve the environment for people in South Bedfordshire."
Mr Woolridge isn't convinced though. He said: "What they're doing is acknowledging there's a problem but they're not doing anything about it. They're not saying that because of the reaction they're going to defer and adjust it, they're just going to see what happens.
"By going ahead and letting this carry on there are people who are being forced to give information that they don't want to give because they don't think that they've got any alternative."
Mr Wollridge's petition highlights concerns that the database could allow criminals to work out which homes aren't fitter with alarms, and could mean that keyholders are targeted.
He has submitted contact phone numbers for his keyholders but he refuses to give names and addresses to identify who they are.
The alarm notification system which was given the thumbs-up by councillors earlier this year, was introduced in a bid to tackle the noise nuicance caused by ringing alarms.
Householders with burglar alarms are required to register contact information about the people with keys to their home, so that if their alarm sounds when they're away, members of the council's Envirocrime Unit can act quickly to get the alarm turned off.
There will be a warning period of two months, after which time alarm owners could face a fixed fine of £80 if they fail to register these details, and if they don't pay this within 14 days they will be fined £1,000.
Forms can be filled in through the council's website, and can be obtained by contacting the Envirocrime Unit on 01582 474031.
Source: Dunstable Gazette, 27 December 2006
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