Fight goes on after CCTV funding cuts

Fylde and Wyre Councils agree to operate CCTV cameras for the next five years
Fylde and Wyre Councils agree to operate CCTV cameras for the next five years

The battle to bring back manned CCTV in Morecambe and Lancaster goes on.

Town businesses and the council are still working to try to find money to restore monitored cameras in our town and city centre to fight crime.

This comes after Lancaster City Council funding to monitor CCTV ended on March 31.

A town security champion said a solution could be sharing CCTV like a new monitoring centre in East Lancashire.

“We are certainly looking at all options and sharing CCTV like in East Lancashire where their CCTV hub is popular,” said Brendan Hughes, Poulton ward Labour town councillor and chairman of Morecambe Business Improvement District (BID).

“We have done quite a lot of work with a consortium of the Morecambe and Lancaster BIDs, the city council and the police and we are trying to engage the university with a view to everyone chipping in to the running costs.

“We are trying to come up with a long term viable solution.”

Mr Hughes, who also runs security business ICU Security Services, said: “There needs to be a long term commitment and we are working hard to come up with a plan. Life is a lot easier with manned CCTV but everyone has to work the best they can with the situation that is given. There is no magic wand or easy way out. ”

A Morecambe Town Council spokesman said they have £5,000 to put towards funds for CCTV.

But the system currently costs £165,000 in direct costs per year to run. Several cameras no longer work and it is estimated that a new system would cost at least £185,000.

Nigel Pearson, landlord of the Kings Arms and chairman of Morecambe Pubwatch, said: “The CCTV is for everyone, not just those in the nighttime economy and it’s crazy, it needs to be manned.”

David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, said: “Funding for CCTV systems can be accessed through the Community Safety fund. In order to access this the council must make an application to the Police and Crime Commissioner as he is solely responsible for the spending of this fund. I would urge the council to make an application as soon as possible.”

Mark Davies, chief officer (environment) on Lancaster City Council said: “Funding to monitor the CCTV cameras in Lancaster and Morecambe came to an end on March 31 due to the financial pressures the council currently faces.

“However, the cameras continue to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for community safety purposes and the footage is still available for police to use in prosecutions and investigations.”

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “CCTV cameras are an invaluable aid to the police.

“It is vital that our communities have the best equipment available to them.”

In a report last year issued by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, it states that the provision of a CCTV system by the council is discretionary.