COUNCIL tax could go up to help pay for CCTV coverage to deter crime.
Councillors at Havant Borough Council are considering the first tax rise in seven years to help pay for the 46 surveillance cameras that cover the Havant and Waterlooville areas.
It comes after a detailed review of the service, which costs the authority around £154,000 a year to run.
The review was called after the council leader Mike Cheshire asked the police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes if the police would help fund the CCTV as the force is the main user of the footage.
Cllr Cheshire said the police should be helping to pay for it, but Mr Hayes said the constabulary could not afford it.
A report that went before the council scrutiny board last night said: ‘The borough has a duty to look after the safety and security of its residents.’
The report cites a council survey of residents two years ago which said 83 per cent of people were happy with the present CCTV cameras, 64 per cent felt safer with it in the area, and almost 70 per cent thought the council should spend money on CCTV. The report adds: ‘It is clear that the public broadly support CCTV.’
The scrutiny board opted to leave it up to the council to see if funding for the project could be found by means other than raising council tax.
The statistics show that 262 arrests were made in 2012 as a result of CCTV in the Havant borough.
The council cites a report from the National Police Bureau.
That says: ‘There are massive consequences for the public if councils switch CCTV off.
‘We’re currently seeing an increase in violent crime and sexual offences associated with the night-time economy, so for CCTV to be switched off in towns and cities is a real game-changer.’
Increasing council tax is one of three options being considered.
The others are to maintain the status quo and to axe the service altogether.
Councillor Tony Briggs, who is in charge of CCTV, said the council’s policy was not to raise council tax until the year 2020.
‘They will have to find the money elsewhere,’ he said.
The council needs to save £1.4m over the next three years in order to be able to balance the budget.
Cllr Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said their CCTV centre was jointly run with Gosport and the authorities were happy to pay for it, with no planned council tax increases.