Towns concerned at loss of funding to monitor CCTV
By West Briton | Thursday, November 08, 2012, 07:15
CORNWALL Council is being asked to review a decision to withdraw its funding for monitoring CCTV cameras at car parks in Falmouth, Truro and Penryn.
The police have raised concerns that the move could threaten a vital service that helped track criminals and protect the public, while Falmouth town councillor Diana Merrett accused the unitary authority of ignoring its statutory duty in not protecting its citizens.
Cornwall Council has said it will no longer pay its share – about £8,000 a year – of the £27,000 annual cost of monitoring the car parks' CCTV.
Falmouth Town Council chairman David Sterratt is writing to ask the unitary authority to reconsider.
"Considering the money car parks make, the CCTV is a drop in the ocean," he said. The income from all Cornwall Council car parks for 2011-12 was £11.9 million, for an expenditure of £3.8 million.
It is believed about a third of Cornwall Council's parking income is from car parks in Falmouth and Truro.
The decision would leave Falmouth and Penryn town councils and Truro City Council having to make up the shortfall or consider changes to the monitoring service.
Truro City Council clerk Roger Gazzard said members had yet to consider the funding, while Penryn council clerk Michelle Davy said the CCTV stakeholders' group needed to discuss the implications before councillors could make any decision.
Inspector Mark Richards said any threat to CCTV monitoring would be a serious cause for concern, as active monitoring meant suspects could be followed and police and businesses in the Shopwatch and Pubwatch schemes could be warned and respond promptly to incidents.
"We rely on the support from local councils," he said.
"I don't want a reduction in monitoring, but an increase; in these economic times it's difficult."
Lance Kennedy, Cornwall Council's portfolio-holder for community safety and public protection, said it had been making a small grant to the councils within the former Carrick district – though there was no record of an agreement to do so – but had rationalised its CCTV funding.
"There's no question of the CCTV system being switched off," he said.
"When every town in the east of the county pays for CCTV it's not fair to expect them to be burdened with costs for Falmouth, Truro and Penryn."