Local Democracy Reporting Service
At a meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s executive committee last week, councillors heard that the authority’s CCTV network is “no longer fit for purpose” and were asked to note that the council can no longer afford to install and maintain CCTV in public spaces.
Police Scotland currently makes no contribution to the region’s town centre CCTV systems, and has indicated that it will not contribute to replacing the outdated systems, despite insisting that CCTV is a valuable resource to the police in the Scottish Borders.
Galashiels and District councillor Sandy Aitchison told the committee: “We’re contributing funding for two community action police teams here in the Borders and Police Scotland is telling us they won’t contribute to CCTV in the region to help protect our communities.
“I just find Police Scotland’s position completely unreasonable, I know they have budget constraints but our budget is being cut too.”
Fellow Galashiels and District councillor Euan Jardine said: “I think we should go back to the police at some point to ask that they contribute something to this.
“They say that CCTV is useful, and wanted, so I think that they need to help fund it.”
Currently, 19 of the council’s 70 CCTV cameras are no longer functional, but Martin Joyce, the council’s director of assets and infrastructure, has warned councillors 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 council officers say this will continue until the CCTV cameras are “beyond economic repair”.
Councillor George Turnbull, who represents Hawick and Hermitage, suggested that communities could look at funding CCTV systems locally: “Lots of money has been made available from other sources, and it’s important that Police Scotland value CCTV.
“I think the way forward should be that the five area partnerships pursue this alongside the police.
“Technology has moved on and nowadays CCTV systems are a lot cheaper and more streamlined, and so I think this is an ideal time to take this out to communities and see if they want to support this and fund it through the area partnerships.
“I think the public in certain areas want an upgraded system and so I’d like to see us pursue this through the five area partnerships.”