Councillors slam police for not funding North Norfolk CCTV cameras
06:30 12 September 2013
Copyright Nicholas Manthorpe 2011
Angry councillors have slammed the police for failing to offer financial support to maintain CCTV cameras in north Norfolk under plans to shake up the network.
Members said they were “aghast” that Norfolk’s Police Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett had refused to stump up towards the cost of the cameras, despite claiming the force was the main beneficiary of the network.
North Norfolk District Council is considering scrapping its 46 cameras, in Cromer, Fakenham, North Walsham, Sheringham and Wells, as part of a review in a bid to save up to £200,000. They are also considering out-sourcing the service to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk or continuing it but with fewer operator hours.
As part of their consultation members asked the police for financial support but were met with a firm no – an answer which dismayed councillors at yesterday’s overview and scrutiny committee.
Deputy leader Rhodri Oliver said he had discussed funding support with Mr Bett but been told the police “weren’t going to make any funding contribution whatsoever”.
Mr Oliver added: “My view is they should be contributing as they are the main beneficiary. I’m very disappointed they’re not.”
Eric Seward added: “It does seem to me if something on a camera speeds up identifying who a culprit is, and makes it more likely for them to plead guilty, that saves a lot of money. Given all those benefits I was a bit aghast that this new commissioner is so firm the police won’t make a contribution.”
In a letter to Sheila Oxtoby, the council’s chief executive, Mr Bett said because of the savings the force has to make in the coming years, he could not support the system – despite its benefits. He also said any contribution it made could set a precedent for other districts to make “equally justified bids”.
The CCTV review will now go before cabinet on October 7.