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CCTV monitoring may be hit by cuts
10:00am Sunday 20th October 2013 in News
Ledbury’s CCTV system in the town centre is under threat because of a cash shortfall that could end or reduce live monitoring.
Ledbury Town Council representatives met with Herefordshire Council to discuss a £50,000 budget shortfall for CCTV monitoring next year in the county – and the town council is now faced with the possibily of having no monitoring unless it contributes towards the shortfall.
Councillor Martin Eager, who was a town council representative at the meeting, said: “If we decide not to contribute, our monitoring could stop. In theory it could happen. Herefordshire Council is trying to pass so much to Ledbury Town Council that we just don’t know what we can and can’t do.”
Coun Eager said he didn’t expect all monitoring to stop but he warned “it might be reduced”.
But with only 80 incidents recorded in the past year, he questioned whether the town council was getting “value for money” in any case.
The town council, which passed on the town centre CCTV system to Herefordshire Council about 10 years ago, already contributes £7,284 each year towards the CCTV running costs.
Ledbury town clerk Karen Mitchell said: “We are already giving quite a chunk of money towards the costs.”
Solutions discussed at the meeting included obtaining funding from West Mercia Constabulary or setting up a group of volunteers to help monitor the screens, which are based at Hereford. Nothing has been resolved so far.
Coun Eager pointed out that the cameras would still be recording incidents but, without monitoring, they would not be able to zoom in for close-ups.
Debbie Stringer, the council’s CCTV commissioning officer, said: “The funding for the county’s CCTV system will be reduced by £32,000 in 2014/15, following a reduction of £50,000 in 2013/14. The reduction for this year will be covered through CCTV funding reserves.
“Whereas the system will continue to record 24 hours, seven days a week, there is a risk the level of real-time footage monitoring could be affected. Discussions are taking place with existing and potential funding partners.”
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