Mo­bile CCTV cam­era bid out of the pic­ture

Tory plan voted down by SNP/Labour ad­min­is­tra­tion

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Kaiya Mar­jorib­anks

At­tempts by Tories to get Stir­ling Coun­cil to buy more mo­bile CCTV cam­eras amid is­sues with mov­ing the cur­rent ones, have failed.

At a full coun­cil meeting last Thurs­day Tory coun­cil­lors Alastair Ma­jury and Jeremy McDon­ald sub­mit­ted a mo­tion seek­ing that the lo­cal au­thor­ity pur­chase more de­ploy­able HD CCTV cam­eras by re­leas­ing up to £75,000 from coun­cil re­serves.

While they re­ceived sup­port from their group col­leagues, the mo­tion was de­feated by the SNP/Labour ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The Tories said it had emerged that the de­ploy­able cam­eras cur­rently op­er­ated by the coun­cil are no longer ca­pa­ble of be­ing moved due to prob­lems with their con­nec­tiv­ity and not be­ing com­pat­i­ble with the new street light­ing col­umns - so al­though six had been pur­chased none of them could be moved.

Coun­cil­lor Ma­jury said: “This year’s cap­i­tal bud­get al­lo­cated £50,000 to pur­chase cam­eras but that will only pur­chase five or six cam­eras, there­fore only re­plac­ing the six that are no longer move­able.

“There is an ur­gent need to in­crease ca­pac­ity and the mo­tion would have added an­other seven to 10 cam­eras. They could also have been of dif­fer­ent spec­i­fi­ca­tions to en­sure of­fi­cers have more op­tions to use them, even in re­mote ar­eas.

“De­ploy­able HD CCTV could and should be used far more widely by Stir­ling Coun­cil. These cam­eras are very af­ford­able, have high qual­ity imag­ing and can be lo­cated where there is no mains power or wifi as they have built in long-life bat­tery power and record­ing ca­pac­ity.

“Not only could they be used for ar­eas where anti-so­cial be­hav­iour is re­ported but they could also cover blackspots for dog foul­ing and fly tip­ping for ex­am­ple.

“Our of­fi­cers do the best they can but they need the right tools to help them. It is hugely wor­ry­ing that the cam­eras we thought the coun­cil had for this pur­pose are not work­ing.”

Coun­cil­lor McDon­ald added: “Anti-so­cial be­hav­iour in all its forms is a grow­ing prob­lem and peo­ple are not see­ing the re­sponse from the coun­cil they should ex­pect.

“We need to be mak­ing the best use of tech­nol­ogy to ad­dress these long stand­ing is­sues not con­stantly putting off tak­ing de­ci­sions.”

Environment and hous­ing con­vener Coun­cil­lor Jim Thom­son, how­ever, ac­cused the Tories of be­ing “op­por­tunis­tic”.

He added: “I can as­sure the gen­eral pub­lic that pub­lic safety is high on the list of pri­or­i­ties of the SNP/Labour ad­min­is­tra­tion. In the past year we have un­der­taken a num­ber of ini­tia­tives.

“Schools are cur­rently hav­ing CCTV up­graded. This has been wel­comed by par­ents and staff.

“A safety au­dit was re­cently car­ried out on a num­ber of round­abouts in Stir­ling, al­ter­ations are un­der­way to im­prove the ef­fec­tive­ness of the ex­ist­ing cam­eras. Costs for po­ten­tial ad­di­tional cam­eras are be­ing sought.

“The coun­cil are work­ing with part­ner or­gan­i­sa­tions to share cam­era pro­vi­sion in sen­si­tive ar­eas, mainly where sub­ject to van­dal­ism. The re­cently signed sus­tain­able growth agree­ment be­tween SEPA and Stir­ling Coun­cil in­cludes a com­mit­ment to fur­ther CCTV pro­vi­sion.”

Coun­cil­lor Danny Gib­son, Labour environment spokesper­son and de­pute coun­cil leader, ac­cused the Tories of “non­sense” - and sug­gested they get them­selves “a free eye test”.

“The of­fi­cer ad­vice sat on ev­ery coun­cil­lor’s desk prior to the meeting start­ing last week made crys­tal clear that there is al­ready bud­get pro­vi­sion and that more cam­eras are cur­rently in the process of be­ing bought.

“Their mo­tion was ut­terly point­less so no won­der we voted it down.”

Mo­tion Tory coun­cil­lors Alastair Ma­jury (right) and Jeremy McDon­ald want the lo­cal au­thor­ity pur­chase more de­ploy­able HD CCTV cam­eras

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