09/07/2024 - Permalink

Shropshire Council set to consult on changes to Shrewsbury CCTV provision

Related topics: Community / Public protection

To help Shropshire Council make £62.5m savings from its budget this year to survive financially, it is proposing to do a consultation on how it runs and funds CCTV monitoring in Shrewsbury town centre.

Shrewsbury town centre

Shrewsbury town centre

Shrewsbury is the only Shropshire town where the council funds and runs a 24/7 monitored CCTV service.

However to close its budget gap, the council is reviewing non-mandatory services and see if it can provide these more efficiently.

Its budget plans are for £62.5m in savings in 2024/25 and all non-statutory services are under review. The Medium Term Financial Strategy, agreed in February 2024, identifies a £334,000 saving through a new model for Shrewsbury Town Centre CCTV monitoring and out of hours emergency call handling.

The council’s preferred option would cease 24/7 active monitoring of CCTV with staff prioritising out of hours emergency calls for key council services. CCTV would remain in place in Shrewsbury, recording 365 days a year and the Police would still be able to acquire footage to help investigate crimes.

Under this option, some live monitoring could remain on a “best endeavours” basis as and when staff are not handling out of hours calls and active monitoring of specific events agreed with police such as Shrewsbury Town “derby” home match days, funded by partner grants.

Currently, Shropshire Council wholly funds the operating costs of CCTV monitoring for Shrewsbury and acts as the responsible authority under the relevant legislation. In other towns in Shropshire, CCTV is run and funded by the town or parish council.

The council is also seeking £40,000 a year from partners for the cost to maintain the CCTV network, which to date has been met by Shropshire Council. If partners do not fund this, the system risks degrading over time.

The report also says the council could work with partners to develop CCTV volunteer monitoring, but that this is unlikely to offer 24/7 monitoring, while partners could also fund extra CCTV staff to provide more active monitoring capacity.

Robert Macey, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for culture and digital, said:

“We face a very difficult financial situation, principally due to rising costs and the growing demand for our services particularly social care, which accounts for £4 in every £5 we spend.

“If we are to survive financially we must review all non-statutory services we provide,  like CCTV monitoring and look at how we can do this more efficiently or in some cases stop altogether.

“The proposed preferred option would make a significant saving and help us become financially sustainable and see all Shropshire towns treated the same.

“A CCTV service would remain in Shrewsbury town centre and continue to support the safety of residents and businesses.

“This is one of a number of difficult decisions that we do not want to make but we have to if we are to survive financially.”

Subject to cabinet approval, a six week consultation on options for CCTV would start later this month. To keep up-to-date and other consultations linked to the council’s budget people can sign up for email updates.