Police in dock over CCTV funding
NORFOLK Police Authority has been criticised for failing to fund CCTV cameras in Great Yarmouth regularly used to fight crime.Yarmouth Borough Council's car parking steering group heard on Thursday that the CCTV scheme was facing a funding crisis for its cameras in Market Place and the seafront because the county council was cutting back its financial contribution.
NORFOLK Police Authority has been criticised for failing to fund CCTV cameras in Great Yarmouth regularly used to fight crime.
Yarmouth Borough Council's car parking steering group heard on Thursday that the CCTV scheme was facing a funding crisis for its cameras in Market Place and the seafront because the county council was cutting back its financial contribution.
However, a number of borough councillors believed the police should be providing funding for using the cameras, which would have met some of the shortfall caused by the county reduction.
Michael Jeal, who represents Nelson ward, was particularly angry the police authority was not paying up - especially as it had increased its council tax demand for 2010-11 by 12pc.
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Police authority chief executive Chris Harding said the council had not written to the authority about the funding concerns and was not prepared to comment further.
The authority paid �15,000 towards the annual �140,000 cost of running the cameras for the first three years after they were installed in May 2001, but the police have not paid a penny since cutting funding in 2004.
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The CCTV company has relied on money from private and public backers to survive, including the county and borough councils, the Town Centre Partnership, Yarmouth Tourist Authority and Market Gates shopping centre.
Now the county council is reducing its contribution for running costs from 2011/12 onwards - with the company once again looking for funds to keep the cameras going.
Borough councillor Bob Peck, chairman of the CCTV scheme, told the steering group the cameras had a positive impact on reducing crime, particularly shoplifting.
Speaking after the meeting, he said the cameras were also used to search for lost children and believed the police authority could contribute more towards the service, especially as it was the biggest user of CCTV.
“The borough council and county council fully support CCTV and there are no plans now or in the future to diminish the service. If alternative funds are needed from 2012 onwards, then every effort will be made to ensure success,” he added.
Town centre manager Jonathan Newman said: “It is an important scheme in that it provides a great deal of safety and security within the town centre.”