Oxford University Student Union and Oxford East MP Andrew Smith are the latest to throw their weight behind the campaign to bring CCTV to the city's Cowley Road.

Martin McCluskey, union chairman, and Mr Smith backed Oxford police Chief Supt Brendan O'Dowda's campaign to install eight CCTV cameras from Magdalen Bridge, along Cowley Road, to Magdalen Road in a £150,000 scheme.

Mr McCluskey said: "We estimate that there are probably about 3,000 students living out in the Cowley Road area.

"Starting tonight, we will also be running a new club night at the Carling Academy and we don't want to be taking students out to an area that we think could be potentially hazardous."

He added: "Some crime may be driven into side streets, but at the same time police resources are going to be freed up to deal with that.

"At the moment there is no time to patrol those side streets because the police are spending so much time on Cowley Road itself.

"I was on Cowley Road the other day and there must have been about 2,000 people in various stages of intoxication.

"You don't know what's going to happen and there is no way police can monitor that with just officers on the ground."

Mr McCluskey is planning to address Oxford City Council's east area parliament at its meeting on October 17. The parliament has opposed plans and said a smaller number of wireless cameras would be a better way of dealing with the issues.

Andrew Smith is writing to every household in every street off the Cowley Road to ask for their thoughts on the plans and will be forwarding that information to the committee and to Mr O'Dowda.

He said: "It's a basic question of security and the importance of community safety, especially with the number of licensed premises that there are now on the Cowley Road.

"The police can cite incidences from central Oxford where crime has been prevented or criminals successfully prosecuted because of CCTV evidence and I believe it is a very, very strong case.

"If the area commander of the police comes out and says I think this is really vital for community safety in the area', I think he's got to be listened to - and I think there is a lot of public support for it."

East area parliament chairman Nuala Youngcor said: "We don't think CCTV is perfect, or often able to identify criminals after the event. Also, we are worried that there are really not enough police available to respond as it is to burglaries or threats of violence in our area.

"We don't think this move to almost total reliance on CCTV is the answer to area policing."

Mr O'Dowda last month launched a crusade to get the scheme up and running in Cowley Road and said the road, which last year had more crime than any other road in the city, was "crying out" for cameras.