August 1 2014 Latest news:
West Suffolk senior reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
A council is looking to “invest to save” by spending more than £400,000 on upgrading its CCTV system and relocating the control room.
The St Edmundsbury Borough Council service began in 1995 with 48 cameras in the borough and has grown to 138 across Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Newmarket, Brandon, Mildenhall and Stowmarket.
Borough council cabinet members are tonight being asked to approve spending £425,000 on the upgrade of the service and relocation of the control room to West Suffolk House.
The borough council is also looking to make more money from the service by working with local retailers, businesses and more councils.
The officers’ report says: “Given the need to make savings there clearly is not a ‘do nothing’ option. We either have to cease or divest the service or invest in it to cut the current operating costs and provide the opportunity to derive further income to offset the residual service costs as well as improving the level of service to our own councils. We are not aware that there is currently any community or partner appetite to cease the CCTV service.”
The plans include investment in modern equipment, increased income from monitoring more cameras for other organisations, and seeking contributions from other beneficiaries.
The report says the police have said the control room has played a vital part in collecting evidence to piece together the movement of suspects and victims. Last year, the CCTV control room dealt with 123 serious offences and 415 minor offences in Bury.
But the report said the police make no contribution towards the cost of running the service, which the council is seeking to address.
The current net cost of running the service to St Edmundsbury Borough Council is £322,100, which includes net income of £75,750 for monitoring cameras for other councils and providing the out-of-hours service to Forest Heath District Council.
A total of £415,000 in a CCTV renewals fund would cover the cost of upgrading the CCTV operation and falls just short of financing relocation, the report says.
The upgrade would not include the 28 cameras at West Suffolk House which were installed four years ago when the building opened.
Councillor David Nettleton said: “I think it’s probably going to be a successful venture.”
And councillor Trevor Beckwith added: “Most people seem to like CCTV anyway. It gives them reassurance and it’s got lots of benefits.
“A lot of people are identified by CCTV doing things they shouldn’t do.”