Town’s CCTV system ‘an embarrassment’

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A COUNCILLOR labelled Spalding’s CCTV system as an “embarrassment” – and the authority has now vowed to hold a debate on the future of the cameras.

CCTV has come under fire recently, with some parish councils asking for evidence that the cameras actually help to catch criminals and the news that the monitoring station at Spalding Police Station is often unmanned due to a lack of volunteers.

Coun Bob Creese raised the issue in the council chamber at Wednesday night’s full meeting and referred to a story featured on the front of the Lincolnshire Free Press two weeks ago.

We reported how Wayne Tyrrell, who only has use of one arm due to a shoulder operation, tackled a shoplifter who stole from Peacocks in Spalding. The police were unable to attend at a time when no-one was monitoring the cameras.

Coun Bob Creese said: “In that report it was embarrassing to read that still the CCTV is only monitored by volunteers and not manned regularly enough.”

Cabinet member Coun Gary Taylor praised the volunteers who do man the cameras and said that, along with police, the council is looking for more volunteers and will develop a strategy for the future of CCTV later this year.

Coun Creese replied: “With respect that answer says there’s no progress.

“It’s simply not good enough. Why is it not manned? It’s no system at all if it’s not.

“It’s embarrassing – how much do we spend for a system that is not manned? We are not getting ‘VFM’ by a long chalk, are we? If I had invested my money in it I wouldn’t be happy.”

In our sister title the Spalding Guardian last week, Inspector Paul Timmins defended the district’s CCTV system and said that there are around 20 times a month that officers investigating crimes request footage from the cameras for their cases.

At the meeting Coun Taylor said: “It’s a debate that we need to continue to have. Parish councils have certainly been discussing this and they need to consult with residents as to whether they want more CCTV or fewer cameras.

“We need to know the feeling of the public. CCTV has made an effort to reduce crime in this area but we need to have a debate on where we want to take this forward.”