Private company could run council ‘spy cameras’

D014747b. Folder 22. Pic Kevin Allen. CCTV Camera.
D014747b. Folder 22. Pic Kevin Allen. CCTV Camera.

Budget cutbacks could force Scarborough Council to outsorce its network of CCTV cameras as the cash-strapped authority continue to look at ways to generate income.

The idea is just one of several that has been mooted by the council regarding the future of the service, all of which are set to be discussed at the Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Committee meeting on Wednesday afternoon at the town hall.

If the work is outsourced, then the council would set up a private company to carry it out.

This company could then bid for other work in the private sector, thus creating a new income stream for the hard-up council.

Other suggestions include cutting staff numbers during quiet periods, as well as shifting cash from other departments to fund the CCTV service, which the council claim has been an effective tool in the fight against crime.

Between April 2011 and March 2012 alone, the camera network directly helped police to make 634 arrests at the scene of the crime, after capturing 2,209 incidents on film.

And in the following eight months, 637 arrests were made at the scene, from 1,679 incidents.

However, despite success of the footage in helping to tackle crime, North Yorkshire Police has said they are unlikely to help with the cost of the service.

Discussions were held between the police and the council. However, with the force facing four year cuts of £28.4 million, they have all but ruled out making a contribution.

Currently, the total operating cost of the service is £555,000 per year, although income from Yorkshire Coast Homes and North Yorkshire County Council means the net cost to the tax payer is £333,000.

Scarborough Council is expecting to make cuts totalling £7.5 million over the next three years, a third of which will have to come within in the next financial year.

The vice-chairman of the safer communities is Cllr John Blackburn. He said: “(The service) is something that I would want to see carried on but I have to appreciate that there have to be cutbacks with the way things are going.

“(This report) has to be looked at carefully.”

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