Moorlands council's CCTV budget more than doubles in past year

By Richard Price - Local Democracy Reporter

26th Sep 2022 | Local News

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has more than doubled its budget for CCTV over the past year.

It's also been revealed that the council only spent around a third of its CCTV budget in the most recent full financial year.

The figures came to light during a scrutiny committee meeting, where questions were asked about whether the council is getting good value for money from its CCTV contractor.

Cllr Charlotte Atkins (Lab) said: "I'm delighted to see the budget for CCTV has more than doubled in a year."

She said the previous year's budget was £86,000 but noted that around £30,000 of this had actually been spent.

The authority's budget for the current year is £212,000 – and Cllr Atkins asked how this will be spent to ensure residents and businesses are kept safe.

She said: "I'm concerned – although we have an increased budget – if it's actually going to be spent in the year.

She added: "From a recent report we had, only a handful of the CCTV cameras were actually working in any of the towns."

Council leader Paul Roberts (Con) said he it wouldn't be appropriate to discuss which cameras are working as it would identify areas that aren't covered.

He said: "I don't think it's appropriate to say which cameras are working and which cameras are not working – because of the crime going forward."

Cllr Atkins said people were worried that issues weren't being dealt with because the lack of provision means evidence of antisocial behaviour and crime isn't being picked up.

She said: "There's a huge amount of anti-social behaviour in my own town, Leek.

"We as councillors are getting complaints all the time and we also know that Staffordshire Police are in special measures so they need all the help they can get.

"Not having working CCTV cameras in the centre of our towns is an absolute disgrace."

She added: "We are supposedly responsible for the safety of our residents in our communities, and the fact is these cameras haven't been working."

"The last time I remember, something like five were working – and I don't know if they are critical cameras in our town centre."

She said local businesses in Leek have been complaining about antisocial behaviour taking place overnight, and that CCTV ought to be capturing this so it can be followed up by police.

Cllr Atkins said: "The fact that we're throwing £212,000 at it is great – but I want to make sure we're getting value for money."

A written response to Cllr Atkins' question came jointly from Cllr Ross Ward (Con, portfolio holder for communities) and Cllr Mike Worthington (Con, portfolio holder for finance).

The pair – who were not present to answer questions from the committee – said: "A budget of £212,000 has been allocated to the renewal of the CCTV system with the expenditure planned to occur in this financial year."

A council officer told the committee: "It's fair to say the council is working with its contractor to make sure they provide what they should in terms of the contractual requirements.

"We're working hard to make sure those obligations are met – and there are contingencies if that contractor is not able to fulfil its obligations."

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