Fears raised over future of CCTV

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Fears have been raised for public safety if a proposal to close a CCTV control centre in Skegness is approved.

Plans to transfer image surveillance to a facility in Boston is due to be considered by East Lindsey District Council’s Executive Board in March.

Currently CCTV images from across the district are monitored from a control room at Skegness Police Station. The move would also see the replacement of the existing cable network to use a wireless signal to transmit images to Boston.

CCTV staff employed at Skegness would transfer to Boston and be part of a merged team.

However doubts have been raised about the technology and if CCTV footage will be adequately monitored from Boston.

A senior police officer and Skegness town councillors have voiced concerns about the impact on the fight against crime.

Speaking at this month’s full meeting of Skegness Town Council Insp Andy Morrice said: “It is only possible to see a limited number of screens at once. CCTV images are important - we can share information on known offenders. It often dictates how many officers we send out. The images are also used by Pubwatch and Shopwatch.”

Coun Mark Smith said: “There is a 25-mile wireless signal limit on a good day. I am concerned about the technology, as every new connection degrades image quality.

“If the centre moves to Boston they will have twice as many cameras to look at and so will not be monitored in a very active way.”

Coun Phil Kemp said: “I cannot agree to anything that puts community safety at risk. If the signal is lost there would be no system. This is more about saving money than the benefits to the community.”

There are currently 13 surveillance cameras in Skegness maintained by the town council. Funding for the system is shared between East Lindsey District Council and town and parish councils.

The district council would need to invest up to £425,000 to upgrade the CCTV cameras and install a wireless infrastructure.

Portfolio holder for communities at ELDC Coun Sandra Harrison said in a statement: “Both councils already work very closely together on issues around community safety and from a policing perspective both districts are already covered by the same operational police commander.”

She said any upgrade required would be paid for by the district council.

She added: “As well as making the CCTV service more resilient, and improving the quality of the CCTV system that services the residents of East Lindsey, this could enable the council to make considerable savings on annual running costs.”