Round-the-clock CCTV could be on its way

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SPALDNG and South Holland’s much criticised CCTV system could be scrapped next year and a new 24/7 system put in its place.

Because the current system is monitored only part-time by volunteers, it has come under fire from all quarters although police and district council chiefs have pointed to some successes.

Coun Nick Worth, the district council portfolio holder in charge of CCTV, has asked for a report on a system currently used in South Holland’s partner district, Breckland, which is monitored by a company round the clock.

He told the Spalding Guardian: “I have asked Breckland now to come up with a high level business case just to see what the cost would be should South Holland want to look at that option.”

Coun Worth says the Norfolk system is widely adaptable and footage can be viewed via the internet – even from someone’s laptop if they have security clearance.

The Norfolk system’s cameras can also be linked to ‘shopwatch’ schemes so cameras can home in on an incident within 1.5 seconds of an alarm sounding.

But Coun Worth says cost is the big decider and the idea will bite the dust if it is too expensive.

He is also looking at other systems before the current maintenance contract expires in August 2012.

Coun Worth said if a new system is put in place, he will want to see a major cash input from the police.

He does not know if South Holland’s current cameras will be compatible with the Breckland system or other systems.

Coun Worth says he expects to have a report from Breckland “towards the end of the year”.

The councillor says the current system is deterring crime.

“It’s definitely doing a job but it could be much improved,” he said.

Holbeach is one of the towns linked in to the current CCTV system and Coun Esmond Tearle believes the parish council is wasting its money and should switch to a system monitored 24/7.

Speaking at Monday’s parish council meeting, Coun Tearle said the parish is spending £5,500 a year for a system that is not monitored properly.