CCTV cutbacks likely to have an impact on the fight against crime

    POLICE have criticised proposals to end the active monitoring of CCTV cameras across the borough.

    The idea is being put forward to a meeting of the Borough Council’s Cabinet Advisory Board next week to adopt a passive monitoring of the 39 cameras, in attempt to save up to £100,000.

    Incidents will still be recorded, but there will be no one observing events as they happen.

    Currently, personnel monitor cameras 77 per cent of the time [129 of 168 hours a week].

    Kent Police warned: “This will have a detrimental impact upon the ability to respond to live incidents, crimes in progress or any security concerns and deploy officers in the most appropriate manner.

    “There have been countless instances where the ability to monitor incidents or individuals by CCTV operators has provided police with crucial information to respond to a threat or crime in progress.

    “Without the opportunity to review a location in live time, a key tactical option will be lost to the police.”

    The council argue that CCTV does ‘not instigate a significant number of arrests’. Between April 2016 and January 2017, there were 31 known arrests instigated by the cameras.

    CCTV ‘assisted’ in 172 arrests and in total monitored 584 incidents of interest to the police.

    Royal Tunbridge Wells Together said: “Live monitoring of CCTV is not a luxury – it is a necessity.”

    The Safe Town Partnership warned that the town’s reputation as a ‘hard target for shoplifters, purse dippers and fraudsters’ would be lost.

    A final decision will be made on April 13.