Case for CCTV cameras

PUBLISHED: 10:46 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 04 May 2010

THE cost of CCTV in Soham has been put under the spotlight. Town councillors contributed £25,500 to the cost of running CCTV from April 2006-March 2007, for a total of 105 incidents reported to police. At a meeting in February, CCTV steering group member

THE cost of CCTV in Soham has been put under the spotlight.

Town councillors contributed £25,500 to the cost of running CCTV from April 2006-March 2007, for a total of 105 incidents reported to police.

At a meeting in February, CCTV steering group member Tony Hinsley said: "The question is, how do we justify the cost to the public. We'd soon know if we stopped having it, crime would go up, but they can't prove we're getting value for money."

Setting up camera systems and connecting cables, not the operation of the cameras themselves, represented the largest expense, claimed town council chairman Christopher Palmer. "It cost £7,000 just to lay the CCTV cable from the church to the Pavilion," he added. "One of the problems is finding a cheap way of extending the system," said Councillor Hinsley. "When they have found one, we will be extending it."

Plans to extend and improve camera coverage of the Fountain Lane recreation ground were talked about at the steering group meeting but until a cheaper alternative is found there are no firm plans for more cameras. CCTV coverage in Soham extends from the town centre to public car parks, the recreation ground in Fountain Lane. Soham has 12 cameras in total, operated from a control room in Cambridge. Additional cameras are positioned at Soham Village College.

Since April 2007, seven people have been arrested, as a result of being identified on CCTV footage, according to town council clerk David Giles. A survey conducted by Cambridge City Council, who runs the Ely and Soham CCTV scheme, revealed the cost of running one camera for an hour was £1.33, and the total cost of responding to an incident was just over £4. Cambridge, Ely and Soham CCTV scheme management put the total at just two arrests in one year.

Councillor Rosemary Aitchison said it was clear the cameras acted as a deterrent.

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