Fight back over CCTV decision as Cabinet told to produce more evidence

    THE Borough Council’s Cabinet have been told to reconsider their controversial decision to downgrade the town’s CCTV monitoring because of a failure to provide enough justificatory evidence.

    The ruling came from the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Monday [May 8] evening. They had the issue referred to them after Liberal Democrat members ‘called in’ (appealed) the April 13 decision.

    It was their belief that there was inadequate information to warrant the move to a passive model of CCTV since Cabinet did not provide any evidence of the passive model’s impact on levels of crime.

    They also took issue with the fact that none of the parish councils had been notified of the intent.

    The Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which is made up of councillors and officers from a range of parties, agreed with the objections and voted for the Cabinet to hold another debate in a special meeting within the next four days.

    Passive monitoring means the 39 cameras around the borough would still be recording but no one would be watching them live. Currently, personnel in the Town Hall watch the camera feeds 77 per cent of the time [129 of 168 hours a week]. The council’s current plan is to dispose of the personnel from April 2018 in order to save £100,000 annually.

    According to a recent Community Safety Partnership document produced by the Borough Council, from April 2016 to January 2017, CCTV monitored a total of 126 incidents graded as violent.

    These range from assaults and domestic violence to public order and racial incidents, which are all routed to the police in real time for immediate attention.

    Under a passive model this immediacy would not be possible.