Time to pay up for a countywide CCTV system, says council chief

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South Holland could be set to join a countywide CCTV system next year - if parish councils and the police are prepared to help foot the bill.

South Holland could be set to join a countywide CCTV system next year - if parish councils and the police are prepared to help foot the bill.

Talks between South Holland District Council, Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership and other councils in the county have been ongoing for months in a bid to find a more cost-effective way of keeping communities safe.

The current CCTV system in South Holland has been running since 2007, with 28 cameras across locations such as Spalding, Holbeach, Crowland and Long Sutton.

Initially the costs were shared by South Holland, parish councils and the police, but district councillors are unhappy at having to meet more of the capitals costs of CCTV as police budget cuts begin to bite.

Parish councils have also complained about the limited nature of CCTV monitoring done by a handful of volunteers from Spalding Police Station.

Coun Nick Worth, deputy leader of South Holland District Council and cabinet member for community safety, said: “None of the parish councils, nor South Holland District Council, are particularly happy with the way CCTV is monitored because it’s done by a few volunteers who do an excellent job.

“When the current CCTV system was implemented in 2007, it was a true partnership between the district council, parish councils and the police who all contributed to it financially.

“Because of the hard economic times we find ourselves in, this financial partnership is essential if CCTV is to survive in its present form and as a district council, we don’t think it’s right that we should be the only ones contributing to the capital costs of the system.”

The current contract for CCTV in the area runs out in March 2013 and district councillors are waiting for a report from the Community Safety Partnership, due in January, before deciding whether to sign up to a new countywide scheme to be monitored round-the clock.

Superintendent Phil Vickers, Lincolnshire County Council’s Assistant Director for Safer Communities and one of the authors of the report, said: “Clearly CCTV is an important part of keeping people safe in public areas and inevitably it has a cost, particularly where there’s 24-hour recording and monitoring.

“What has changed significantly over the past two months is the elction of a Police and Crime Commissioner who has responsibility for the police budget, community safety and making sure our partners work effectively together.

“The main thing for district councils is to get agreement so they are happy about looking at a more effective and efficient way to deliver CCTV across the county.”