Plan to cut live CCTV monitoring is questioned

Posted On 07 Jan 2015
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hThe debate surrounding the news that Dyfed-Powys Police Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon is to slash the budget for camera monitoring by £40,000 in April this year continues to rumble on this week with the local council and the Police defending the use of the technology.

According to the Camarthen Journal the slashing of £40,000 from the budget means towns such as Carmarthen, Ammanford and Llanelli are likely to be left without any live monitoring of CCTV across the town centres.

An independent report into CCTV commissioned by Mr Salmon found that there is no case to support the active monitoring of public CCTV in Dyfed-Powys. The Journal learned that the cost of the report into CCTV across the Dyfed-Powys Police force area was £33,552 — almost as much as the cost-cutting earmarked for Carmarthenshire.

…the cost of the report into CCTV across the Dyfed-Powys Police force area was £33,552 — almost as much as the cost-cutting earmarked for Carmarthenshire…

A report in the Shropshire Star revealed this week that Welshpool Town Council, which operates 16 cameras throughout the town, said its system worked well and produced clear images used by police. Robert Robinson, town clerk, said: “The Welshpool CCTV system produces high quality images and is used by the police regularly. The police have full access. The system records 24 hours a day and images are kept for months and can be called up at any time.”

Also defending the cameras is Sergeant Dominic Jones based at the Friars Park police station, who told the Camarthen Journal: “There have been many times when I was on patrol that CCTV was a valuable tool. I could be told the location and description of someone who may have just shoplifted and then apprehended them. I can’t tell you how important CCTV is in instances like that. It’s a beneficial asset in my view. It is still operational and I don’t want people worrying it will be turned off any time soon.”

The county council which employs the monitoring staff — funded by the police and forms part of the community safety partnership — has reacted to the cuts stating CCTV will be severely impacted. Talks between Carmarthenshire Council and Dyfed- Powys Police over the future of CCTV are expected over coming weeks.