Fears over plans to merge Fenland CCTV camera monitoring with Peterborough
A Wisbech councillor claims plans to relocate Fenland’s CCTV operators in Peterborough in a cost-cutting merger will impact on camera use.
Councillor Virginia Bucknor said she has been told Fenland District Council is currently negotiating to merge its CCTV operation with Peterborough, in a move set to save around £78,000 a year.
However, the Waterlees Ward district councillor said there has so far been no discussion of the proposals, although an all members seminar is planned for tomorrow (Thursday), and it is unclear just when the changes are likely to be introduced.
She also pointed out that the town councils all contribute to the cost of running the cameras and questioned whether they had been approached about the proposed change in their monitoring.
Coun Bucknor said any move to have Wisbech cameras operated by staff from Peterborough and vice-versa will have a detrimental impact on the cameras’ use in preventing crime.
She said: “If you have someone from Peterborough covering Wisbech and our other Fenland towns and vice-versa, they are unlikely to know the area. The staff we have operating Fenland’s cameras at the moment are extremely experienced, they know the areas and which of the 100 cameras we have across the district need the most watching.
“That kind of vital local knowledge is likely to be lost. The second issue is that at present our police can go to the local office to view footage when they are carrying out an investigation. If the operation is moved to Peterborough then they will have to trek over there, which will take additional time, which means less time for policing.
“Once again it appears someone is making decisions without thinking through the consequences of what they are proposing.”
A council spokesman said in 2015 as part of the council’s comprehensive spending review members had agreed various measures regarding CCTV including shared services.
She said: “A proposal will be considered by members. No further comment will be made until the members’ thoughts and considerations relating to this have been completed.”