Decision on Fenland CCTV monitoring merger with Peterborough put on hold to allow consultation
Moves to relocate the monitoring of Fenland's CCTV cameras to Peterborough have been put on hold for a month to allow for consultation.
As previously reported in the Citizen the district council is looking at cutting £78,000 costs by merging monitoring of security cameras across the area with Peterborough City Council's operator, with full council originally due to make a decision next Thursday (13).
But following an all members seminar it was agreed there should consultation with funding partners - all four Fenland town councils contribute towards the costs of the system - prior to a decision being taken.
In a memo to members Councillor David Oliver, portfolio holder for community safety, explained: "This recognised that whilst the proposal represents no material changes to the delivery of the town council service level agreements there should be an opportunity for them to comment on the proposal.
"In light of this conversations have been held with Peterborough City Council to explore how the proposed time-line could be reworked. Peterborough have confirmed that a limited amount of flexibility is feasible.
"A letter will be sent to funding partners inviting town councillors and other funding partners to a meeting at Fenland Hall on Wednesday December 12 at 5pm. The deadline for comments from funding partners would then be welcomed by Friday January 14 2019.
"In accordance with the council’s constitution the final decision on a shared service is by full council and therefore it is proposed to defer the final decision by cabinet and full council from Thursday December 13 to Thursday January 17. To facilitate this an extraordinary council meeting will need to be arranged on that date.
The relocation would see the setting up of a Local Authority Trading Company (LATCO) - something Fenland has never done before.
Wisbech Councillor Virginia Bucknor has raised concerns about the proposals fearing the relocation of camera monitoring will have a detrimental impact on security in Fenland as they are likely to be looked after by people without essential local knowledge.
She has also questioned why Fenland is considering setting up the LATCO when it has not done so in the past.
In a written response to Coun Oliver she said: "Of course, as stated, staffing numbers would need to increase at Peterborough City Council since the staff will be required to monitor many more cameras. What is the ratio proposed - how many cameras and how many staff would be monitoring at peak and off peak? How can we be absolutely assured that staff monitoring our area from Peterborough will have sufficient knowledge of Fenland?
"Meetings had already been held with the city council over many months before discussions with Fenland councillors or even those councils paying for the system. Rubber-stamping such a proposal and now planning to 'consult' during the Christmas season is really not appropriate. Proper consultation needs to be held.
"No mention anywhere has been made regarding the police. I find this quite extraordinary. Are you really not consulting with them?"