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Monday, 20 October 2014

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Carlisle council: Bid for £100k CCTV cash still alive

A bid to secure £100,000 funding to help tackle antisocial behaviour in the Carlisle area is still on the table.

CCTV photo
48 out of 63 cameras are threatened

A report in yesterday’s News & Star suggested that councillors had rejected the money from Cumbria’s police and crime commissioner Richard Rhodes.

Members of the full city council did vote to reject a Conservative motion and budget amendment to use the cash to keep the city’s threatened CCTV system fully operational for another year.

However, a Carlisle City Council’s spokesman said: “We are putting together a bid and hopefully that will be successful and we will get the money.”

He added that, although details of the bid were not yet available, areas where the money could be used included CCTV provision.

It was revealed in November that all but 15 of the 63 cameras in the city council’s district were to be switched off in money-saving moves when the authority’s contract with BT comes to an end.

These cuts would leave only six cameras in the city centre plus nine in council car parks.

Council leader Joe Hendry said that when the motion to use the funding for CCTV was proposed it was too early to decide because the bid had yet to be submitted.

He added: “Because it is antisocial behaviour, part of that will be to consider whether to keep the cameras going. We are very cash strapped. We haven’t been offered the £100,000 – we have been asked to apply for £100,000.”

Dr Hendry confirmed that they were set to express an interest and added: “We’ve already had a meeting with the police and crime commissioner to discuss this.”

He said that CCTV was one aspect but the whole equation covered a range of issues. “The issue is how to reduce antisocial behaviour – one of the ways is using CCTV cameras.”

Richard Rhodes, the county’s police and crime commissioner, had offered £100,000 Police match funding to each of the six district councils across Cumbria.

Last week Carlisle City Council confirmed that it was set to respond to the offer and was developing ideas to put forward as part of a business case on how the cash would be used.

Speaking at the time Councillor Elsie Martlew, the portfolio holder for environment and transport, said: “As the funding comes with strings attached – it has to be match funded by the council and is only for one year, which makes long term planning impossible, the acceptance isn’t straightforward.

“We and other district councils have been hard hit by government cuts and finding funding is extremely difficult.

“We are looking at ways to meet the criteria with the view of being able to fund a CCTV service in Carlisle for the next 12 months. This is what the consultation was all about.

“We want other organisations to help fund the service that they use, rather than the whole cost being placed on the city council for what is a discretionary and not a statutory service.

“In the meantime, I look forward to reading the findings of the Acting Chief Constable’s report on CCTV, which has been requested by Cumbria’s police and crime commissioner. If this definitive report establishes CCTV as an essential tool for the police then I expect them to pay for it.”

Brampton parish council has also expressed an interest in taking over the maintenance of CCTV cameras in the town.

Riverside may also provide financial support.

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