Council focuses on town CCTV
Published at 16:51, Friday, 30 November 2012
CCTV surveillance in Ulverston is facing an uncertain future.
Council bosses in South Lakeland declared at a meeting on Wednesday that the funding of the service should be reviewed.
It is currently operated by cash-strapped SLDC at a cost of £80,000 a year.
Members of the cabinet committee agreed talks should now take place between the authority and Cumbria Police to decide who should pay to keep the town’s cameras rolling.
Councillor Ian Stewart, SLDC’s economy and enterprise boss, explained the district council would continue to operate CCTV in the area while discussions continue with the police – in particular Richard Rhodes, Cumbria’s new Police and crime commissioner.
Cllr Stewart told the Evening Mail: “SLDC has agreed to make changes to council tax discounts, which apply, for instance, to second homes, which will generate extra revenue for the county.
“This will result in an additional £198,000 in precept going to the police.
“What we need to do now is open discussions with the police to find out whether the new police and crime commissioner believes CCTV is a priority.
“If it is, then we should be asking who needs to fund this service in our towns.”
But Cllr Stewart added: “If CCTV is not a priority for Mr Rhodes then we may have to follow their lead.”
The demise of the CCTV system in Ulverston and Kendal had been highlighted as a possible cost-saving measure in SLDC’s latest financial report.
SLDC is facing a budget deficit of more than £1.8 million by the 2016/17 financial year.
Carlisle City Council is also considering a similar move in a bid to slash its budget by £221,000.
But police and crime commisioner Richard Rhodes, who was elected to his post just two weeks ago, said he was prepared to enter into talks on the issue.
“It won’t make the policing of town centres any easier,” Mr Rhodes said of the possibility of CCTV cameras being turned off.
“I have set up meetings with the leaders of all district councils in Cumbria, as well as police superintendents.
“There will be an opportunity to discuss this matter then, and it’s likely that will be before Christmas.”
The funding review was not welcomed by Stuart Ward, landlord of The Kings Arms in Ulverston and a member of the town’s Licensed Victuallers Association.
He said: “It would be a totally backward step to get rid of these cameras – they are a deterrent to trouble.
“We all pay our rates so we should be able to walk down the streets of Ulverston in safety. It’s not just about cost.”
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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