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.

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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.

13 comments

  • I don't see it as political point-scoring MingMong, I've not pointed out that Breckland is run by a Conservative administration, and I've not said that a Labour run Breckland would not have had this problem - as I said earlier, no company is completely safe currently, but I merely made the point, as any opposition Councillor should - was this contract properly scrutinised, were all the risks considered, and were contingency plans put in place? Perfectly reasonably questions. I also caveated my comments by saying that I was not an elected member of Breckland when the contract was signed, so was not aware of what the process was like, but of course the media cannot print comments verbatim, and use just a selection of words. The other point I made is that Breckland, and other Councils, particularly at this time of reducing budgets, must not just have an eye on the financial savings of any new contracts services but fully consider value for money and risk - if a company continually undercuts its rivals to secure contracts, they won't have a very solvent business, and will ultimately go bust.

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    CllrTerryJermy

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • ....£3.5m CCTV contract....10-year deal.....63 surveillance cameras....So that works out at £5555.55 per camera per year, and they can't make it pay??

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    Rhombus

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

  • Chris Newman makes a very good point! Is the Council going to save the system? Advamce Monitoring must have been a load of crooks but someone from the council must have dropped the ball. This dident happen over night, lets wait for the crime wave, open season for the criminals

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    Mervyn

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

  • How does a company with a credit limit of £5k when the contract was signed win such a large contract? Maybe someone needs to review their supplier evaluation processes better.

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    Chris Newman

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

  • The job of the opposition is to oppose and scrutinise, MrMingMong - this is something that I do, although it can of course be very similiar to political point scoring - if I am contacted by the press, I provide my thoughts. In this case, as is often the case, they use a certain selection of words - the point I made was; I was not on the Council when this contract was entered into, so I cannot comment on the extent to which it was scrutinised, but, considering this has happened it does go to show how important it is to scrutinise contracts and the viability of the company that provides the service, just because they are the cheapest supplier initially does not necessary they provide the best possible service or the most reliably service or the best value for money. If they are cheap, are they cutting corners or running at a loss, and therefore likely to run into trouble - as may be the case here. Again, I do not know why the company has gone into liquidation (I did research this before providing a quote but was unable to find any information), it may be for reasons not linked to a poor business plan. Further, this is similar to the G4 Security debate as who will now be picking up the cost of this private sector failure? probably Breckland taxpayers (for those that know me you will know that I am not the sort of person that always views the public sector as good, and private sector as bad, it is far more complicated than that)

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    TJUK2011

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

  • Could I ask Mr MingMong is he would join Twitter please? I think he would like it!

    Report this comment

    @CllrIanSherwood

    Friday, July 20, 2012

  • I see Terry Jermy never misses a trick to score political points, easy to throw stones when in opposition, more difficult to actually propose something constructive. No wonder there is so much apathy within the electorate when the quality of opposition is so poor.

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    MrMingMong

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

  • Maybe Mr. Clark would like to substantiate the needs for the system by quoting arrest figures and incidents were crime has been seen first on CCTV in Thetford and which has subsequently led to arrest and conviction of a criminal. I'd rather spend this money on our young people and their future in this society. When it is more likely that a young person is getting an Asbo than a job, something is not quiet right.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

  • Breckland's G4S ? There must be a Tessa Jowell or someone who was managing this contract within the Council, for all our safety this must be saved!

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    Mervyn

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

  • I would volunteer to work one night per week as I see this as a very crucial part of crime reduction in Thetford, I am sure others would help out to staff the CCTV center if we were trained , until a solution or funding is found. Councillor Carl Clark.

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    Carl Clark

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

  • " Operators are few a far between and need to be vetted and licensed. Then trained"...rubbish, anyone could monitor several screens. This would far cheaper to outsource to India for their beady eyed and cheap as chips chaps.

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    nrg

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

  • If only it was so easy as Mr Clark suggests, Operators are few a far between and need to be vetted and licensed. Then trained, what about the skilled staff already in place at risk?? Send them to sign-on ??

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    Mervyn

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

  • nrg, you have shown you have no basic understanding about the legal requirements. Don't under estimate the skills of a cctv operators and the strict legal procedures they need to follow. They do a great job working along side the Police and I am always glad to know they are looking out for me! and you?

    Report this comment

    Mervyn

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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