A RAFT of Uttoxeter’s CCTV cameras are set to be axed - just months after ransacked charity shops called for tighter security in town.
Three charity shops were targeted by thieves who broke in via their back doors behind High Street in April.
Shop managers at British Heart Foundation (BHF), Scope and YMCA called for security cameras to be installed to protect their repeatedly-targeted back entrances.
The call was echoed by staff at Birds Expresso, which was also broken into during the raids.
However, borough council cabinet chiefs met on Monday night to discuss cutting the number of cameras in town.
Cameras under threat include units in Bradley Street, two in the Maltings car park, Market Place, Trinity Road car park, three on the corner of Smithfield Road and three in the Fairfield Road car park.
A full review of the cameras’ use and value will be carried out before a decision as to which will be axed is made.
Tory cabinet member Julia Jessell, deputy leader for regulatory service, said the council must ensure it is running an ‘efficient service’.
She said: “The Council must evaluate how it deploys its limited resources.
“By combining investment from our savings and focusing on our priority locations, we can ensure that we target the correct areas, providing more value for money to our residents whilst maintaining an efficient service.
“The council is continually reviewing the services it provides to local people.
“This is a valued service as seen from our citizens’ survey and we want to be able to ensure that we can continue to operate a good-quality service.
“These recommendations will allow the Council to adopt a more affordable and intelligent maintenance programme, target priority areas, seek contributions from partner organisations and ensure we provide value for money to our residents.”
The council’s opposition Labour group has expressed alarm at the move.
Group leader Julian Mott said: “The council is saying that these 24 cameras are no longer needed as they are each recording are fewer than one incident a week.
“This misses the whole point of having the cameras which is to deter crime and anti-social behaviour.
“CCTV cameras have been very successful in both Burton and Uttoxeter.
“Removing these cameras would send out the wrong message about crime and anti-social behaviour in the town centres and would save very little money.
“There are better ways of saving money which would not involve removing cameras.”
Jon Wheale, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Uttoxeter, has joined Councillor Mott in urging a rethink before a decision to cut street safety cameras is taken.
Mr Wheale said: “The police do a great job and if crime rates are falling why cut crime fighting equipment which is keeping our streets safe? Why risk safety on the streets when the financial saving is little compared to the benefits of feeling safe?”
Three of the council’s mobile cameras will be donated to police.
A full copy of the council’s report on CCTV is available online at www.eaststaffsbc.gov.uk.