New deal reached for CCTV in Ely and Soham
PLANS to introduce a ‘record-only’ CCTV system in Ely and Soham have been dropped after a deal was struck between Cambridgeshire police and the district council that will see officers and volunteers take on the responsibility of monitoring cameras in the district.
PLANS to introduce a ‘record-only’ CCTV system in Ely and Soham have been dropped after a deal was struck between Cambridgeshire Police and the district council that will see officers and volunteers take on the responsibility of monitoring cameras in the district.
In urgent meetings held between the two authorities in recent weeks, it was agreed that responsibility for monitoring Ely and Soham’s 40 cameras would be taken on by officers and a group of trained volunteers in a new control centre set to be based at Ely Police Station on Nutholt Lane.
It is understood that the move will help East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) save tens of thousands from its budget ahead of the expected Government cuts in October while also helping to allay fears that a record-only system would significantly hamper police in two of the district’s major centres.
Inspector Andy Bartlett from Cambridgeshire Constabulary said: “The introduction of this new CCTV service is great news for the people of Soham and Ely. CCTV not only assists in the detection of crime but also acts as a deterrent.”
The news was also welcomed by Major of Ely Brian Ashton, who said the City of Ely Council were “delighted” with the news: “It is truly excellent news that this is now to be based in Ely and it is especially good that the equipment and monitoring capacity will be based at the police station, he said.
“The outcome of our collective discussions as a group of partners shows what can be achieved when we come together for a common good.”
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Councillor Peter Cresswell, Chairman of Community Services Committee at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “When we began the review of the CCTV service in the district at the start of the summer, I wanted to find a solution which provided a better local service that afforded all those involved real value for money. I believe the discussions we have had with the police in recent weeks will lead to a system which meets the needs of everyone. The safety of the people who live and work in our district is of paramount importance and I am extremely pleased we are making real progress to achieve this goal.”
The announcement comes after a group of traders in Ely hit out at the plans to cease live monitoring of the cameras recently, calling the move “disappointing”. Councillors argued that the move was necessary however, as part of a package of savings the authority will have to make in the next financial year.
Both the police and ECDC will work in partnership with the City of Ely Council and Soham Town Council to base the new system in Ely police station where a timetable will be established for officers and fully trained volunteers to oversee the new system.
Meetings will continue to take place between all of the interested parties in order to thrash out the finer details of the project including running costs and monitoring hours.
It is understood that a new monitoring centre could be up and running at the police station by early next year.
Cllr Anne Tuite, Chairman of Soham Town Council, said: “It is very encouraging to see the progress which has been made over the summer. For Soham Town Council, it is important that our CCTV system provides reassurance to our residents but also forms part of the resources which the police can have easy access to. Clearly the discussions which have taken place show that by working in partnership we can achieve a service for the benefit of many.”
For more information on volunteering to monitor the new system please contact Insp Bartlett at Ely police station on 0345 456 456 4.