CCTV cameras are still to be installed at one of the Capital’s most notorious sex attack black spots, despite campaigners being told they would be in place by the end of 2012.
Lothian MSP Sarah Boyack said the situation at Telfer Subway had to be “sorted out urgently” after it emerged cameras had still not been fitted, and council safety chiefs were unable to say when installation work would be finished.
Community safety leader Cammy Day had pledged last year that council staff would work “as a matter of urgency” to ensure the cameras were put in “before the end of the year”.
But despite a £50,000 grant being identified to fund the installation the cameras are still not in place.
Ms Boyack said: “I understand the need to follow the right procurement rules but this is taking a long time for what’s a straightforward ask.”
Campaigners and residents have been fighting for years to ensure CCTV cameras are fitted at the underpass, which has been plagued by sexual assaults and muggings.
In 2009, a woman was subjected to a seven-hour sex attack after being dragged from the subway to a makeshift den nearby.
Polish cousins Michal Marchlewski, 21, and Tomasz Kryczyk, 26, were later arrested for the crime, with Marchlewski sentenced to ten years in jail and Kryczyk hanging himself in prison while awaiting trial.
The news that the work on the cameras had been dogged by delays was greeted with dismay by campaigners.
Ms Boyack said: “We campaigned for dedicated security camera coverage to improve safety in the Telfer Subway. I’m really disappointed it is taking such a long time to sort out.”
She demanded that additional measures be taken to boost public safety at the underpass.
“I want to see an increased presence from police and community safety wardens so that people can feel safe while using this important route,” she said.
One local resident, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s frustrating and annoying that the cameras still aren’t in. People in the area are anxious about using the underpass and want to know what’s happening.”
Council safety chiefs admitted the CCTV procurement process had taken longer than they had expected, but they insisted they were committed to fitting new cameras as quickly as possible and revealed the underpass would become a priority route for police and community safety patrols.
Councillor Day said: “The council has given a commitment to installing cameras in the subway and this will happen.
“Unfortunately the procurement process has taken longer than anticipated, but I want to reassure the local community a CCTV system will be installed and the council are working to achieve this as a matter of urgency.
“In the meantime this area of the city will be a high priority for our community safety patrols.”