'All they’re doing is misleading people' - anger over dummy CCTV cameras after alleyway attack (From Watford Observer)
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Husband's anger over dummy CCTV cameras after wife is attacked in alleyway from Wiggenhall Road to Lady’s Close, Watford
A concerned father is calling for "misleading" CCTV signs and dummy cameras to be taken down and replaced with working ones after his wife was attacked in broad daylight as she walked home from college.
Nabil Boutchicha’s wife, Khadija, was left with cuts and bruises to her face and "would not leave the house for weeks" after she was punched and pushed to the floor in a Watford alleyway last November.
The path, which runs from Wiggenhall Road to Lady’s Close, is scattered with CCTV camera signs and a camera.
However, following an investigation by the police, it was revealed that there was no footage of the attack.
Mr Boutchicha, a health care assistant at Watford General Hospital, said: "We’re in 2014 and it’s ridiculous that it hasn’t been recorded.
"This is misleading people and something has to be done regarding this. Proper cameras should be installed and not fake ones."
The 46-year-old added: "You think you’re safe because it’s broad daylight and you’re surrounded by CCTV signs. We’re appalled at the fact that camera signs and what looks to be CCTV were put there and all they’re doing is misleading people.
"It happened to my wife and I don’t want it to happen again to another person."
Mrs Boutchicha, 39, who is studying English at West Herts College, was walking back from her class on Thursday, November 21 when she was attacked in the alleyway at about 12.30pm.
Her attacker, who is described as a six foot tall, slim-built male who was wearing a dark hooded top and dark trousers, came running up from behind her and assaulted her.
Mr Boutchicha said: "She was walking along the alleyway to come home and all of a sudden she heard someone rushing up behind her and she got punched in the face and fell down on to the floor. Luckily, she screamed so the attacker ran away."
The couple live with their two young children in Pumphouse Crescent.
Mr Boutchicha said he sees women walking down the alleyway on his way to work and he’s worried that something similar could happen to one of them.
Talking about the effect the attack has had on his wife, Mr Boutchicha said: "She is still in shock about what happened.
"For the first four or five weeks, every single day she talked about that incident and she didn’t come out of the house at all.
"It has been about eight weeks and she’s still left with the bruises on her face. Now she only goes out if it’s really necessary and she won’t go that route to college anymore."
The CCTV signs were put up by Watford Grammar School for Girls, in Lady's Close, to notify people that there are cameras in place.
However, headteacher, Helen Hyde, said the school's camera was not directed down the alleyway as it is illegal for the school to record the public, but that there are signs up to act as a warning.
She said: "We are not allowed to put CCTV in public places. We put signs out to warn people that they exist as a security for our children. All schools have CCTV now instead of security.
"There are some dummy cameras that face inwards for our own use. The cameras record internally, not externally, as a safety measure for our students."
Anyone who has any information about the incident can contact police on 101 quoting crime reference number C1/13/5269.
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