CCTV cameras in Gosport will not be monitored for parts of the day under plans to cut surveillance costs.
The town’s 40 cameras are currently studied round-the-clock from a main control room.
But Gosport council leaders have agreed a series of cuts, which include cutting staff hours.
It’s understood a quarter of the cameras will also be disconnected from the control centre as the council looks to save £17,000 from the budget, although they will still record.
Critics say it could lead to criminals getting away.
Cllr Peter Chegwyn, leader of the Gosport Lib Dems, said: ‘This is a bad move. It means criminals will have more chance to get away with their crimes particularly when police are having cuts as well.
‘Having CCTV to follow people around the town is always very helpful and they won’t be able to do that in future. People will be concerned the council is going soft on crime.
‘We should be combating crime, not cutting on crime prevention.’
The council refused to say how many hours the CCTV cameras will go unsupervised.
It said images were also fed into the Hampshire Constabulary’s control room in Netley.
But police confirmed the CCTV feeds would not be monitored unless they were alerted to an on-going incident.
Gosport council leader Mark Hook confirmed ‘a handful’ of cameras will no longer be connected to the control room, but will still record the streets.
The News understands that this applies to 10 of the 40 cameras.
Cllr Hook, said: ‘It’s a fundamental review. We are looking at the amount of time operators are viewing CCTV and if they need to be sitting there 24 hours a day.
‘CCTV cameras are an excellent deterrent. At this moment in time the same number of cameras will stay.
‘It won’t impact on crime. We are providing the same level of service.
‘There will still be 40 cameras in Gosport and they will still be recording.
‘There are new ways of recording and that’s what we’re looking at.’
The council shares its CCTV system with Fareham Borough Council, which will have to approve the cost-cutting measures before any changes can be made.
Other ways of saving money could include using wireless technology and using fewer cables.
When The News tried to contact borough commander Chief Inspector Jason Kenny, a Hampshire Police spokesman said it would be ‘inappropriate to comment on an on-going council matter’.