CCTV – The Lights Go Out
The switch will be flicked to off; the active monitoring of CCTV in the central and west of Cornwall will stop on the 1st of April. These cameras will now just remain static, filming away without a care in the world. In other words being as much use as a chocolate fireguard.
The reasons being Cornwall Council cannot afford to fund the full operation, the local Town Council’s refusing to stump up more money to make up the shortfall and the Police unwilling to put their hands in their pockets and help fund these systems. Hence the situation we are now in.
The question is now who be blamed for any increase in crime? My answer would be all 3; because something could have been worked out if everyone had paused and stepped back one step. I have made it perfectly clear in previous blogs on this topic that I was amazed that the Police did not contribute more. Sure, they offer the space for the monitoring equipment to live and operate, but apart from that they offer no other money.
The towns that have had the benefit of these systems for many years have also to realise that things cost. In the east of the County (or Duchy for the purists) the towns that have CCTV have paid for their operation for many years out of the Town Council precept. They have rightly said why we have to pay for this, when others get it for almost free. Maybe the towns who had received this almost free service could have said ok, we understand the budget pressure and we are willing to pay more, but not that much.
Cornwall Council has also had to take the blame. They should not have demanded such a large increase and in a lot of cases after many Town Council’s had already set their precepts for the following year. This means theses Town Council would not even have had the budgets to stump up more cash. And the Police, instead of saying No outright, could have had the foresight to realise they were the ones who are going to take on the extra burden if crime does increase.
In the independent report undertaken by Cornwall Council it pointed out in black and white that the reduction in the CCTV system would be the equivalent of losing or having to find and additional 36 officers. That could cost the Police Authority roughly £1m per year in extra wages, which of course does not include all the other associated costs in recruitment and training.
At the end of the day everyone is going to be a loser on this subject. The public whilst not always liked being filmed the moment they left their house and though out the day understood the need for CCTV. Statistics that the Police and Local Authorities love will see these figure change for the worse and will then have to spin and blame others as to who is at fault. Worse still, it now gives those criminals the green light to do as they like because there is now even a lesser chance of being caught or deterred from carrying out a crime.