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Westminster Council 'too slow' in reinstalling CCTV, mayor says

The Mayor of London has criticised Westminster Council for "dragging its feet" in reinstalling previously removed CCTV cameras.

Fixed CCTV cameras in central London were axed to save £2.7m in 2016.

Only 14 cameras are currently active in the centre, compared to the 75 which were operational in 2016.

Westminster City Council said it was working with police to find an alternative solution, but Sadiq Khan said a decision was "taking too long".

"I'm really disappointed that the council took a decision in 2016 to decommission and remove CCTV cameras which we know are crucial for the safety of London", he told the BBC.

"We persuaded them to work with the police to find a way to resolve the issue - but two years on they're still dragging their feet.

"I'm saying for goodness sake - the safety of Londoners is more important that playing party politics - sort it out."

The mayor sent a letter expressing his concerns to council leader Nickie Aiken on Thursday

Councillor Ian Adams, of Westminster City Council, said he was surprised the mayor chose to raise the matter with the council "given it is a police project".

"The council fully supports plans to install a new network across the city and has provided The Mayor's Office of Policing and Crime with £1.5m funding to help complete the scheme which will include 65 new cameras", he said.

"Of the 65 locations, we have been asked to assist with works at just 15 sites across the city. The majority of this work has already been completed."

A total of 64 digital cameras are due to be installed by the Met Police

The Met Police said digital cameras will be installed in the most effective locations.

It added that the old camera network was not fit for purpose and the cameras were sited in locations that no longer served police needs.

"There is no specific date for when the new system will be operational but everyone's priority is to get the new cameras up and running as soon as possible," it said.

"Due to the unique challenges of this part of London, Westminster will be the only borough where the Met will own and operate CCTV."

Copyright: BBC News

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