SECURITY bosses could be given the funds to save Uttoxeter’s under-threat CCTV network, the town’s police and crime commissioner has said.
Shop owners at British Heart Foundation (BHF), Scope, YMCA, and Birds Expresso expressed dismay when it emerged 11 cameras in town could be scrapped.
The blow came just months after the shop owners called for more security in High Street when they were ransacked by thieves.
However, Matthew Ellis, Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, has revealed he will hold talks with East Staffordshire Borough Council, which operates Uttoxeter’s cameras, to discuss how to maintain – or even improve – the network.
He said: “The council’s review that may result in cameras being axed would certainly concern me.
“Before they do that I’d like to speak to them and see if there’s any way we can change our collective approach to protect the cameras under threat.”
Mr Ellis told the Post and Times he will release ‘larger amounts of money than ever before’ for councils to combat crime and disorder problems specific to their borough.
He will also explore the possibility of saving money by asking authorities to install more uniform systems monitored from one place.
He said: “We’ll be asking them what they plan to do with the cash and telling them that, if they satisfy the criteria of reducing offending, increasing public confidence, early interventions and supporting victims and witnesses, they’ll get more next year.
“This will be a huge chance to bring forward specific areas of concern for specific areas, like CCTV is for Uttoxeter.
“If we can set out a plan to make these systems more uniform across all Staffordshire councils with a solid, contractual approach, we can save money there.
“With those savings, we can protect the cameras we’ve got and even enhance the network.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting with council leader Richard Grosvenor and his staff about my idea to buy the cameras once, rather than six times, to share resources.”
Mr Ellis recently provided a £15,000 grant to bosses in Newcastle-under-Lyme to improve its cameras.
He said: “The situation in Newcastle was a special case. After a nearby court closed down, their courts had to pick up the slack and that was causing problems in town.
“Criminals, knowing they were going to get sent down, were going on shoplifting sprees to get what they needed for prison.
“We’ve had 20 years of thinking throwing money at something is the only solution but, if you ignore the quick fix and try to redesign things so they work better you can get much better value for money.”
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.
East Staffordshire Borough Council’s CCTV system, in its current form, would reportedly cost the council £800,000 during the next three years.
The move follows government directives to use cameras only where there is a proven need.