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Collapse of CCTV firm puts security camera coverage in Dereham, Swaffham, Attleborough, Watton and Thetford at risk

PUBLISHED: 06:30 19 July 2012

John Wilkins of AMS showing off the art Breckland CCTV control room in 2010, with screens showing images from Attleborough, Dereham, Swaffham, Thetford and Watton

John Wilkins of AMS showing off the art Breckland CCTV control room in 2010, with screens showing images from Attleborough, Dereham, Swaffham, Thetford and Watton

©Archant Photographic 2010

Council bosses are racing against the clock to keep security cameras in Breckland rolling after the company they signed a £3.5m CCTV contract with three years ago went into administration.

Advance Monitoring Solutions (AMS) agreed a 10-year deal with Breckland Council in 2009, and operates 63 surveillance cameras in Dereham, Thetford, Attleborough, Watton and Swaffham.

Administrators Begbies Traynor said the company will be liquidated on July 31, and the council said it had agreed the cameras will operate until then, and is talking to police about what happens afterwards.

Breckland Labour leader Terry Jermy labelled the situation “Breckland’s G4S” and said: “It looks like a bit of a mess. It goes to show how important it is to thoroughly scrutinise contracts like this and the viability of companies that provide them.”

Breckland became aware of AMS’s difficulties earlier this month, and is talking to the administrators about the financial impact of AMS’s collapse.

A council spokesman said: “Breckland is a very safe place to live, and we will continue to work with our partners to keep it this way. CCTV is just one element in the community safety measures provided in the district by the council, the police and safer neighbourhood teams.

“We are aware of AMS’s current financial situation and have reached an agreement with the administrators that the cameras will operate until 31 July. We will work with the police to look at what options are available to us after this date.”

Breckland’s community safety officer Grahame Green had described the technology as “probably the most sophisticated CCTV system in the country” when it was introduced, and the council had hoped businesses would pay to have their properties monitored, helping to make the service self-funding.

CCTV cameras operated by AMS in the Amber Valley in Derbyshire were switched off last week.

The EDP was unable to contact AMS despite several attempts.

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