Wednesday August 25th 2021
A review of CCTV coverage in Midlothian’s communities is being carried out amid concerns the deteriorating system is putting public safety at risk.
A report to Midlothian councillors this week revealed that only 40 of the 56 CCTV cameras currently in position work and the network has not been manned in over three years.
It also revealed that cameras which stop working are only fixed if the repair is “at minimal cost”.
Council officers asked a virtual meeting of elected members to approve plans to look into the cost of upgrading the system and taking advantage of alternative modern systems now available.
It also urged councillors to back a plan to reintroduce a team to set up and maintain future CCTV coverage across the county.
In 2015 Midlothian Council had 293 public space CCTV cameras operating across the county, including five covert cameras.
However the report to council said:
“In February 2018, as a result of financial pressures, Midlothian Council agreed through the financial strategy report to manage a reduction of all open space CCTV activity and delete the Community Safety Team, which oversaw the CCTV system and operations.
“The cameras are not monitored and only accessed for images after an event, on a suitably authorised request by Police Scotland. ”
Now it said there are only 56 in place across Midlothian and nearly 30 percent do not work.
Officers said that the condition of the CCTV equipment “increases risks for not aligning with public safety objectives”.
They asked for the green light to undertake a fully costed options appraisal on the existing camera estate and network to deliver an appropriate
service, re-establish a CCTV Officers Group to review all public space CCTV operations and ensure the system is managed efficiently, consistently and legislatively compliant and revise the Code of Practice on CCTV operations.
Councillors were told the report on the potential upgrade would be carried out in consultation with Police Scotland who would also lead on review of alternative equipment.
Members were also told the council had already trialled and bought three re-deployable wireless CCTV cameras, which are deployed in consultation with the Police or at identified fly tipping hot-spots and can be accessed, monitored and adjusted using a mobile phone or laptop.
Councillor Margot Russell called for a report on the potential upgrade and existing estate to be brought forward as soon as possible.
Officers agreed to have a report prepared for October.Tweet Share on Facebook