Borders towns CCTV is ‘not fit for purpose’

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Local Democracy Reporting Service

A report before Scottish Borders Council’s executive committee this week, states that the authority’s CCTV network is “no longer fit for purpose” and asks councillors to note that the council can no longer afford to install and maintain CCTV in public spaces.

Currently, 19 of the council’s 70 CCTV cameras are no longer functional, but the report warns that the number of faulty cameras is likely to increase and some already have intermittent faults.

There are eight systems, all of which are operated by Police Scotland, in Duns, Eyemouth, Galashiels, Hawick, Kelso, Melrose, Peebles and Selkirk.

Scottish Borders Council is currently spending £40,000 a year repairing the systems, and the report advises that this will continue until the CCTV cameras are “beyond economic repair”.

The author of the report, Martin Joyce, the council’s director of assets and infrastructure, writes: “The council meets all ongoing revenue costs, including energy consumption, telecoms charges, consumable items and annual charges from the contractors who provide maintenance support for each system.

“Police Scotland does not make any financial contribution to the town centre schemes.

“The council’s current position with regards to CCTV provision is not to install new CCTV equipment or replace life-expired systems but to continue to maintain the current asset within the existing revenue budget until they are beyond economic repair.

“Generally the systems are analogue and with recent technological advances, they are now out of date.

“Replacing the current out of date analogue systems with the same technology is not recommended as the technology is old and is becoming obsolete.

“Replacing the current systems with the latest high definition technology will require a large capital investment.”

Mr Joyce’s report also outlines Police Scotland’s position on the maintenance of CCTV in the Scottish Borders: “The police see CCTV as one tool that contributes to public security and the prevention and detection of crime, which reassures the public in areas that it is installed and adds to the overall perception of community in the area.

“The police are therefore supportive of continuing to provide a CCTV provision within the local communities.

“Unfortunately the police are not in a position to fund or to contribute to the funding of public space CCTV in the Borders.”