Wednesday, 11 August 2010


A CCTV operator has received a commendation from the High Sheriff of Kent, after helping to secure the arrest of a gunman who nearly blinded his victim, when he shot him in Ramsgate.

Andrew Selfridge from the council’s CCTV team was on duty on the night of 18 December 2009, when he was made aware of a fight in Camden Square. Nearby CCTV cameras were used to monitor the area around the Plains of Waterloo, behind the Camden Arms pub. A large crowd appeared, who were arguing.

A man walked up to the group from the bottom of the Plains of Waterloo in an agitated state. He then pulled a hand gun from his coat pocket and threatened one of the crowd with it. Most of the crowd parted, but one man had not seen the gun and it was fired three times into his face. The man received a puncture wound injury, two millimetres below his eye, and was lucky not to lose his sight.

Andrew alerted the police on the CCTV unit’s police radio as a priority call, which is the highest grade a call can be given. The CCTV system was then used to follow the man to a nearby address, with police given details of his whereabouts and his description.

The police closed the surrounding roads and a firearms team was sent to the address. At his trial, the man was sentenced to six years in prison, for possession of an imitation firearm, with intent to endanger life.

A person can only be commended for the award from the High Sheriff of Kent by a judge. In this case, Andrew was put forward by His Honour Judge Nash at Canterbury Crown Court. He was commended for the “prompt, efficient and professional manner in which he acted in detecting the offence, following the defendant on CCTV and leading the police to premises at which he was subsequently arrested.”

Andrew said: “Naturally, it's always nice to be recognised for your work, but I felt slightly embarrassed and humbled to be awarded the High Sheriff of Kent’s commendation. All of the CCTV operators can regale you with tales of the things they've seen, some of them funny, some horrific and some that just make you wonder! I think the award is more a reflection on the work we do as a team in CCTV, than my specific efforts.”

Cllr. Chris Wells, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “This shows just how valuable our CCTV system is; and in particular the importance of vigilant and capable operators. Those thinking of breaking the law should understand very clearly how cameras can be used to track an offender and help with their arrest. I am delighted Andrew has been awarded this commendation for his excellent work in helping to bring this case to court, and ensuring a dangerous criminal was brought to justice.”

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