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No one watching Carlisle's CCTV cameras

Nobody is now carrying out live monitoring of Carlisle’s CCTV system following cash cuts – but the cameras are continuing to record around-the-clock.

Carlisle CCTV photo

The city council has confirmed its Civic Centre control room is no longer being manned by staff watching the TV screens linked to the system and three shift operator jobs have been axed as part of cost-saving measures.

But it has stressed all the cameras in the city and in outlying towns are rolling 24-hours-a-day, with evidence they film available to police.

It was revealed last year that live manning of the system would end and the move became reality with the start of the new financial year this week.

Until this point the control room was manned between 9.45am and 2am from Monday to Friday and between 10.45am and 3am at the weekend.

A spokeswoman said: “From April 1 all 63 cameras continue to record 24-hours-a-day, seven days per week.

“Although recording is continuing the control room is no longer manned and three CCTV shift operators will be made redundant due to the changes.”

Further measures could see 48 of the current 63 cameras operated by the authority switched off for good from 2014, with the council saying cuts in Government grant left it with no option but to put forward the plan.

It is now in discussions with Cumbria’s crime commissioner, Richard Rhodes, after he pledged to give £100,000 that could go towards the system or other measures to tackle antisocial behaviour – if the council matches this sum.

The spokeswoman added: “The council has agreed to continue the maintenance on 16 of these cameras for the year 2013/14 and is in discussions with the police and crime commissioner regarding the future of CCTV provision.”

Elsie Martlew, city councillor with responsibility for CCTV, added: “We are working in tough economic times and we have to look at how services are delivered in the future.

“CCTV is a discretionary service and is currently solely funded by the city council.

“The cost of the current service was in excess of £221,000.

“Although we appreciate the importance that the CCTV service provides, a review of the finances was essential.

“We have scaled down the CCTV service to meet the hard economic times. However, we are continuing to work with partners to meet the priorities of the service.”

The city council is not alone in making cuts to its CCTV service, with other authorities switching off cameras or having systems that face being axed.

Have your say

Funding for the CCTV could be generated by scrapping the disc zone parking and introducing a charge for on street parking. Simple really. Portland Sq / Chatsworth Sq and Rickergate are used by Cumbria County Council employees as free for all car parks. Introducing on street parking charges would prevent this from happening. It would generate income which would fund CCTV and free up parking places for town centre shoppers which in turn would boost the local economy.

Posted by Big Dave on 14 April 2013 at 23:31

Jane. Tut tut. While you are correct in your statement, it hides an untruth.
Local councils are funded largely from business rates and council tax. With business rates what happens is the council collects it and it is forwarded to central government who then redistribute these rates back to local councils based on needs, this is called the 'revenue support grant'.
So local businesses *are* contributing to funding already.

Posted by Jim on 14 April 2013 at 15:29

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