The effectiveness of an improved CCTV system for Spalding town centre has been brought into focus by events last weekend.
Two serious group fights broke out – one in Hall Place and Red Lion Street, which are covered by cameras, and another in Churchgate and The Vista, which are not.
Police have made an arrest on the Hall Place incident, but are yet to make a breakthrough on the other alcohol-fuelled brawl.
Work by South Holland District Council on installing a new 17-camera CCTV system across the district is expected to complete in late summer.
Monitoring will then pass from volunteers in Spalding to a specialist unit at Boston Borough Council.
CCTV has been effective in reducing commercial burglaries, but the chairman of Spalding Nighttime Economy Forum says even an improved system is unlikely to reduce drunken scraps blighting the town.
Matt Clark said: “There has been an ever-depleting number of police officers in the town on Friday nights in recent weeks.
“CCTV can help to highlight an issue and catch the criminal but if these are one-off assaults it’s not really going to help us.
“I personally would prefer to see another bobby.”
Last night Spalding Town Forum was due to discuss funding a mobile camera, which could be moved to cover problem areas.
One likely area to benefit would be The Vista – the scene of Sunday’s fight at about 1.15am, which left three men injured – one of them needing hospital treatment for a number of cuts to his back.
Twenty four hours earlier, the brawl in Hall Place left three men with cuts to their arms or head, which required stitching.
A 19-year-old from West Pinchbeck was arrested and bailed until September 5.
Meanwhile, South Holland district councillor Nick Worth, who is leading the project, said the new system would provide improved quality of images and enable a quicker response from police.
He said: “It will directly feed into the police radio system and that’s something we haven’t had before.
“Yes, we would all like to have more Spalding police officers but I think the present numbers are as good as we’ve had for a while and, given the financial constraints, any more is unlikely to happen.”
Preparatory work on the new system is already under way. The 17 cameras will be installed across South Holland, but not all parishes are on board yet.
Spalding, Holbeach and Crowland will definitely be included.
Long Sutton is minded to be involved but is looking for some reassurance on the quality of signal.
The biggest stumbling block is Sutton Bridge, which is understood to want a guarantee surrounding police response.
All parishes will be expected to contribute towards the £32,000 annual running costs.