CCTV coverage is scrapped by Havant council

Kevin White, 57, of Bramdean Drive, Leigh Park, pictured talking on the phone and Adrian Dowse, 46, of Botley Drive, Leigh Park

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CCTV coverage will no longer be provided by a council.

The Conservative cabinet of Havant Borough Council yesterday agreed to scrap its CCTV system, which has been in operation since 1999.

Havant Borough Council is pulling the plug on CCTV

Havant Borough Council is pulling the plug on CCTV

The move will save the authority £154,000 a year.

Some 46 cameras – operated by four employees for 18 hours a day, seven days a week – were covering town centres and transport hubs across Havant, Waterlooville, Leigh Park, Emsworth and Hayling.

All but six of those have now been switched off.

The authority has negotiated with the Meridian Centre in Havant that four cameras on the outside of the building and two at the nearby bus station will be operated by Meridian staff.

Janet Johnston, from Waterlooville Business Association, told The News CCTV coverage provided security.

‘When you walk through the town, if someone pinches your handbag, it’s going to be on CCTV,’ she said.

‘But we are not going to have that cover now.’

Giles Babb, chairman of Emsworth Business Association, said: ‘I think it’s something that should have been protected in the budget. It’s a deterrent. If you see CCTV you are going to think twice about what you do.’

A council report says the CCTV system is ‘regularly used’ by the police.

The leader, Mike Cheshire, wrote to Simon Hayes, the former police and crime commissioner, asking if he could help fund the CCTV system, but Mr Hayes told him there were no funds.

The council’s cabinet meeting heard the equipment was out-of-date and not ‘fit for purpose’.

Councillor Tony Briggs, who oversees operations, said: ‘Reluctantly, after much consideration and investigation by our scrutiny panel, the council accepts that the current CCTV system no longer fulfils a majority of the original objectives set out from when the system was set up in 1999.

‘Some existing CCTV cameras do not meet with the Surveillance Commissioner’s 2013 code of practice and do not represent value for money for the residents of Havant borough.’

He added that if crime and anti-social behaviour increase ‘to a reasonable point’ then ‘alternative modern digital solutions’ will be investigated.