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Managers required to find new income streams as local authority CCTV faces funding squeeze

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

The unprecedented level of public expenditure to support people and businesses through the pandemic is inevitably going to lead to some sort of reckoning when it comes to the autumn budget and future government expenditure. Whether it will result in the drastic cuts to local government budgets seen in the years after the 2008 financial crash – where cameras were being switched off and reductions made in 24/7 live monitoring – remains to be seen.

Applications for the 2021/22 round of the Safer Streets Fund – the main central government funding in England and Wales for public space safety including CCTV – closed in July. Some £25 million is up for grabs, with the priority being to secure bids to help make women and girls feel safer on the streets.

So what is the state of CCTV funding at present? Some key points to emerge from a recent survey of local authority CCTV managers by the CCTV User Group on funding and income generating opportunities were:

  • Almost all respondents were delivering services in addition to core CCTV monitoring, such as fire and intruder alarms monitoring and car park management

  • The average operating budget for local authority schemes is £404,000 a year, ranging from £8,000 to £1.3 million

  • 31% of respondents were experiencing budget cuts, with 75% of these saying they are permanent

  • Only 13% used CCTV to issue Penalty Charge Notices

  • 83% think that there should be a council tax precept to fund CCTV

Additional services included car park and street warden management and the monitoring of out-of-hours intruder alarms (both local authority and third party), fire alarms, panic alarms, lone workers, local authority and third-party alarm-activated CCTV, and lifts.

Addressing funding cuts, 38% of respondents said that announced cuts would have a ‘substantial’ or ‘considerable’ impact on services, including staff cuts, reduced monitoring hours and system closures. Although the Safer Streets Fund is being channelled through police and crime commissioners, just 20% of respondents receive funding from them.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 87% of respondents believe that CCTV should be designated a ‘statutory service’ for local authorities, meaning a service they are legally obliged to provide and which would have a higher priority for funding – as is the case with services such as child and adult social care, education and waste collection. Their reasons for wanting to make the provision of CCTV a statutory service include increasing reliance on it by police, public expectations, councils’ duty of care, protecting council housing and property and that CCTV is key to community safety partnerships.

See the full article here

Copyright: IFSEC Global

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