January 27, 2011 12.44 pm This story is over 158 months old

Lincoln CCTV service could be scrapped [U1]

Big Brother: CCTV cameras in Lincoln could be switched off following a review undertaken by the City Council.

The City of Lincoln Council says that CCTV cameras across the city could see a reduced level of service, transfer to another provider, or be scrapped entirely.

The announcement comes as the City Council has to save around £2.25 million over two years following cuts to central government grants to the authority.

The council is now reviewing its options for 24/7 CCTV service in Lincoln, which costs around £438,000 per year to operate, fully funded by the council.

There are 133 cameras across Lincoln, which are monitored by a team on a 24/7 basis since the service started operating in 1997.

The CCTV review will involve consultation with Lincolnshire Police, local business groups, partner organisations and the general public.

The Lincolnite understands that initial discussions with Lincolnshire Police to contribute towards the CCTV service have been unfruitful.

Set to last around six months, the review will look at several options to save money on the CCTV service in Lincoln.

These include reducing the level of service and expenditure, transfer to another provider, or even scrap the city CCTV cameras entirely.

The City of Lincoln Council is also evaluating maintaining the service as it is, but with reduced expenditure, or to secure more income to offset costs.

No dates have been set to decide on the CCTV review.

Councillor Darren Grice, Leader of the City of Lincoln Council said that the review could have a significant impact on the public and the police:

“The level of savings we need to make means we have to take a long, hard look at many of the services we currently provide.

“We need to ask whether we can run them at less expense, with the support of others, or should we stop doing them.

“We are confident that in time we can make significant savings by reviewing the way we work, looking again at the support we provide in the back office and the potential for joining up services with other councils.

“However, to achieve £2.25 million worth of savings there will inevitably be some difficult decisions to be made over the next year or so and some public facing services will be affected.

“This is very early days and no decisions have been made, but I want there to be a serious debate about how the CCTV service is funded,” Grice explained.

— Later update: Chief Inspector Mark Housley of Lincolnshire Police is confident some form of CCTV coverage will be maintained:

“The council has not made a final decision yet and the proposal offers a number of options, only one of which is to cease operating the service completely.

“We have time to work with Lincoln City Council and other partners in the area to find a solution.

“We are confident we will and some form of coverage will be maintained. These are tough times and we all have to make very difficult decisions.

“The way forward is for all public sector organisations in Lincolnshire to pull together, pool resources and ensure that frontline services continue to be delivered.

“That is what we are doing and we will find a solution with regards to CCTV in the coming months,” Housely explained.

Source: City of Lincoln Council