CCTV escapes Stoke-on-Trent City Council cuts
VITAL 24-hour CCTV will no longer be reduced as part of a package of controversial council cuts, it has emerged.
The future of the crime-detecting cameras was thrown into doubt when Stoke-on-Trent City Council announced budget cuts it claims will save £21 million.
The council had initially voted in favour of reducing its monitoring of the 220-strong camera network in a bid to save some £74,000.
But now the authority has announced plans to keep the cameras staffed 24 hours a day at the council's new £4 million data centre in Etruria.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The council claims lower staffing levels will make the service more affordable.
Councillor Andy Platt, cabinet member for green enterprises and clean city, said: "Although we are still going to be saving £74,000, I can announce that the CCTV service will remain a full 24 hour staffed service despite earlier concerns.
"Our officers and members have been working very hard behind the scenes.
"The service will soon be moving to the new data centre as part of the wider operations there.
"This means the council will be able to maintain monitoring with lower staffing levels due to the alignment of services in the same building. It is also hoped to build in commercial opportunities, as the new CCTV service will offer state-of-the-art monitoring and software, into which other schemes can be incorporated in."
Meanwhile, calls have been made for the police to contribute towards running CCTV to help keep the service stay afloat.
Councillor Terry Follows has called on Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis to 'cough up' funds for the cameras out of the police budget, reasoning that "the police use CCTV more than we do."
Council officers say the force uses 1,000 pieces of evidence from the city's CCTV every year and warned cuts may 'increase the level of offending' and 'damage to public property'.
Labour councillor Mr Platt said: "As yet we haven't got that money that we believe we deserve from the police towards it. But hopefully that will come in time."
However, Mr Ellis said he had not been formally approached about the issue.
The Conservative made a pointed remark on network site Twitter on Friday, writing: "Wouldn't it be great if someone had the courtesy to talk with me directly instead of trying to do business or play politics through the media."
Mr Ellis later told The Sentinnel he would consider finding funding for the service, so long as it included improvementst to make the network more efficient.
He said: "I think the way that CCTV is run across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent could be cost effective if certain improvements were made. I am not opposed to assisting in some way and I am willing to speak to all parties on the basis of making service improvements.
"But my message to them is to talk to me about it directly."