‘Wait and see’ decision on CCTV’s future

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Spy in the sky cameras will continue to deter and catch criminals while a decision is made about the long-term future of the district’s CCTV.

The future of South Holland’s scheme has been up in the air for months as the district waits to find out if a county-wide scheme gets off the ground.

But a CCTV task group told South Holland District Council cabinet on Tuesday that it fears waiting could have financial repercussions if the contract with the current supplier is allowed to lapse.

An interim report recommended that a new yearly contract is signed with GTS, as well as suggesting the system is re-evaluated in three to 12 months when new broadband technology could bring improvements.

Deputy leader of the council Nick Worth, who is also on the county council, said signing a new 12-month contract was “premature” as he expects a report into the proposed county-wide scheme within four to six weeks.

Members decided to stick with the current system until the end of the financial year at the end of March and then make a decision on its future.

But there was overwhelming support for ensuring the district does not lose its CCTV – leaving it an “easy target”.

Spalding Police inspector Jim Tyner told the meeting that his 20 years’ of experience told him that CCTV works as a deterrent and that it had played an important role in falling crime figures since 2006.

He said: “CCTV does have an impact and there is a negative impact if it is known that a town does not have CCTV.

“We were an island before when we didn’t have it and we were targeted by travelling criminals – it concerns me that would happen again if CCTV was withdrawn.”

Harry Drury, on behalf of Spalding Chamber of Commerce, reiterated their support for CCTV and said members were looking at the legalities of using shops’ own CCTV to bolster the system, as well as managing a recruitment drive for more volunteers to monitor the system for longer hours.

Insp Tyner added that “prayer pastors” currently being recruited as part of the street pastors scheme could help monitor the cameras in the evenings as part of their role.

Cabinet members said efforts should be made to bring parishes which had, or were considering, withdrawing from the district’s CCTV scheme, such as Holbeach and Long Sutton, back into the fold by highlighting its crime-fighting benefits.

Council leader Gary Porter said: “I am quite surprised by the level of support for CCTV around the table – it gives me a warm glow.”