The Committee considered the report of the Business Manager – Public Protection which sought to provide Members with an update of public space CCTV and future issues facing the system within Newark & Sherwood.
The report set out the primary objectives of the service when it was first introduced in 1999. It also provided information as to the stakeholders and partners of the current provision together with a note of the assets; cameras; monitoring and staffing; finance; and recording of incidents. The proposals were listed in paragraph 3 of the report which were that a full review of the public space CCTV system be undertaken and also a review of the CCTV Policy and Procedures to ensure full compliance with the relevant codes of practice.
Members raised the issue of the previously agreed coverage in Edwinstowe and the length of time it was taking to reach a permanent solution. The Business Manager advised that the intention had been to install a fixed camera but this was not now possible. The only option was to use a fibre optic solution which was proving difficult to source. He noted that a portable camera was currently in operation. In response to concerns raised that the cost benefit review may result in all coverage being withdrawn, if it was shown that no criminal behaviour was recorded, the Business Manager advised that it had been the decision of the Committee that the camera be installed and this would be actioned and added that he accepted that the presence of a camera acted as a deterrent.
A Member queried whether it would be possible to gain additional funding from the Police if they were used for traffic enforcement purposes. The Business Manager advised that whilst some local authorities used them to assist with the issuing of Fixed Penalty Notices, it was understood that this was not something that Nottinghamshire County Council wished to pursue.
A Member queried whether it was possible to use the current cameras in conjunction with a public address system which enabled the operator to let the public know that they were being observed. The Business Manager advised that there were two issues with the use of a PA system. One was due to the ratio of the number of cameras and operatives monitoring them. Sometimes there was only one individual monitoring approximately 135 camera feeds. The second issue was the infrastructure which would be required to enable the use of a PA system. The Council cameras were either fibre optic or used via wifi and it was not always possible to transmit audio through such equipment.
In acknowledging the need to review the cameras and the cost benefits thereof, the Chairman stated that consideration must be given to the original primary objective of reducing the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour.
(a) the current activity recorded by the public space CCTV network in Newark & Sherwood be noted;
(b) a review of the whole system, including each camera, be undertaken with a further report being presented to the Homes & Communities Committee;
(c) a review of the CCTV Policy be undertaken and a revised Policy be produced for consideration at a future meeting of the Committee; and
(d) a review of the financial contributions made to CCTV be undertaken with the findings and options being reported to a meeting of the Committee for a future financial model.