CCTV camera monitoring will merge despite fears move will lose 'vital' local knowledge
Monitoring of Fenland's CCTV cameras will move to Peterborough after councillors agreed to the £78,000 a year cost cutting measure yesterday (Thursday).
All but three councillors voted in favour of merging Fenland's cameras with Peterborough despite being told only one operator will look after both sets of cameras most of the time.
There will be two operators at peak times, but what those times will be has yet to be clarified.
Fenland has 75 cameras across its four market towns, but Councillor David Oliver, portfolio holder for community safety, was unable to confirm how many cameras Peterborough has.
News of the move caused major public concern when the Citizen revealed the council's plans back in November, with many questioning how someone based in Peterborough would have the local knowledge needed to monitor Fenland's cameras efficiently.
Councillor Virginia Bucknor, who with fellow councillor and husband Mike Bucknor, were among the three to oppose the move said: "I believe this is yet another poor decision by Fenland councillors. Local knowledge is vital otherwise the cameras might just as well in Timbuktu."
A report to yesterday's meeting set out the thinking behind the merger, which will go fully live this November.
The report said both councils have common interests and issues with the service including the need to cut costs and try to increase income for what is a non-statutory service.
It said the biggest cost is staffing/technology and points out all Fenland's cameras will need upgrading from analogue to digital within the next couple of years.
The report adds: "Therefore a service redesign has been undertaken to see what the potential is for a shared service."
The process has taken note to ensure "design principles are retained or enhanced; the service is resilient to unforeseen circumstance; the community see no change, 24/7/365 service is delivered with an operator presence; honours contractual arrangements with funding partners and realistic and achievable savings should be the key determining factor for initial business case."
It also adds the move will be a 50/50 partnership with equal decision making - no takeover from one organisation.