A MOBILE surveillance camera could be introduced in Cookham to help combat crime at the railway station and its car park.

Cookham Parish Council will make initial enquiries to British Transport Police (BTP) about a petard camera, which can be moved between various crime hot spots when the needed.

The idea was put forward at the council's planning meeting on Tuesday following public outrage at recent spates of crime, including the arson of three cars in the railway station car park two weeks ago.

The meeting saw police resources heavily criticised, but beat officer, PC Valentine De Haan, revealed the area would be getting two new Police Community Support Officers on June 25.

He said: "They will be tasked with leaflet drops and a uniformed presence in Alfred Major Recreation Ground."

He added that more student officers were being deployed on the patch for training and he was still pushing for two special constables. However, he said crime prevention was not a complete answer.

The petard is an alternative to CCTV cameras and can transmit back to a control room by radio signal. PC De Haan said it could be clipped to street lights and easily shifted around.

He told the meeting: "Certainly I think you will find that is about £7,000 and £2,000 for each adapter, but it is a long-term investment.

"We are talking about problems and BTP may wish to contribute to it."

The council is also to discuss lighting the High Road to reduce spates of vandalism and other crimes. It plans to leaflet householders to justify why the measures should be introduced .

Residents packed into the meeting at the library in High Road, many blaming a lack of police presence for problems such as teenage drinking, criminal damage and car crime.

One man, who wanted to be known only as Mark, 31, of Cookham, said afterwards: "We don't have the support from the police because they just don't have the numbers. Now PC De Haan is getting support so hopefully they can learn to work with us rather than fighting fire with us. "

Another resident said: "I think the criminal element just tend to know or recognise the Cookhams as a soft touch because the police presence has been negligible. The geog- raphical footprint is too big for the police to have any impact."

PC De Haan told residents he was confined by priorities and that two special constables would improve things. He said he understood concerns, but urged the public to be more proactive.

He told the Free Press that overall crime was down by 100 incidents this year.