CCTV switch-off 'has no impact on safety'

Published: 5 Mar 2012 17:303 comments

THE switching off of Bracknell Forest Council-funded CCTV cameras has had no impact on community safety, a councillor has stressed.

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The council's 15 cameras were switched-off in October 2011, but there are other cameras operated in the borough by other organisations including Thames Valley Police.

It comes as a report by privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch highlighted what local authorities had spent on CCTV in the past four years.

Cllr Iain McCracken, the council's executive member for culture, corporate services and public protection, added: "Bracknell Forest Council and the Bracknell Forest Community Safety Partnership take the safety of the community very seriously.

"There are a variety of cameras, both private and public, which help keep the community safe and we will continue to work in partnership with the operators of these systems.

"However, after a thorough review it was decided that Bracknell Forest's CCTV system with cameras in Bracknell town centre and in Sandhurst - which is monitored by arrangement with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead - was not providing good value for money in the current financial climate."

Ian Boswell, community safety manager, said: "Currently, the council is investigating a more flexible CCTV arrangement, using up-to-date technology, so cameras can be moved around the borough to places where they will be most effective in the months ahead.

"During the transition period other operators - including Thames Valley Police and local businesses - are providing the CCTV service within Bracknell Forest."

A report by privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch highlighted that the council spent £448,517 on the maintenance of their cameras between 2007 and 2011, before they were switched off.

The report also said that Wokingham Borough Council spent £259,616 on 25 cameras.

Wokingham Borough Council confirmed that the Wokingham Community Safety Partnership had spent £194,728 between 2008 and 2011.

The data for the report was gathered through Freedom of Information requests, with 428 local authorities responding.

Big Brother Watch found that the councils who responded spent £515m on CCTV in four years.

l Is having fewer CCTV cameras a good move? Email letters@bracknellnews.co.uk or leave your comments below.

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