On a day when the Home Office issues new guidelines on CCTV, East Staffordshire Borough Council’s Cabinet has agreed on a number of recommendations regarding the provision of CCTV cameras in East Staffordshire.
Since 2010, the Government has prioritised personal freedoms of individuals rather than a blanket CCTV approach. Local authorities now have to ensure that CCTV systems are directed at areas where the need can be demonstrated rather than having blanket coverage.
To ensure that the Council’s CCTV cameras focus on areas where evidence suggests there is a need, Cabinet agreed to reinvest savings and to utilise cameras in areas of little or no activity to replace or repair cameras in priority locations.
Councillor Julia Jessel, Deputy Leader for Regulatory Service, said: “The Council must evaluate how it deploys its limited resources. By combining investment from our savings and focusing on our priority locations, we can ensure that we target the correct areas, providing more value for money to our residents whilst maintaining an efficient service.”
The costs of monitoring and maintaining a CCTV system are increasing and as a result, Cabinet also agreed to seek contributions from partner organisations that utilise the CCTV system, which is wholly funded by the Council, as well recover costs associated with monitoring and operating the bollard.
It was agreed that the Council should propose to transfer the three mobile cameras to the Police at no cost to them for the equipment, and open discussions with the Police Crime Commissioner to transfer the remaining CCTV apparatus to the police.
The CCTV control room also monitors privately owned cameras at a fixed fee per year. The Cabinet agreed at the meeting to implement the charging tariff for the other cameras that monitor areas in private ownership, or consider the removal of the cameras where an income from the private landowner or business cannot be negotiated.
Councillor Julia Jessel added: “The council is continually reviewing the services it provides to local people. This is a valued service as seen from our citizens’ survey and we want to be able to ensure that we can continue to operate a good quality service. These recommendations will allow the Council to adopt a more affordable and intelligent maintenance programme, target priority areas, seek contributions from partner organisations and ensure we provide value for money to our residents.”