Breaking News EXCLUSIVE First reported by Island Echo

EXCLUSIVE: COUNCIL CONFIRM PLANS TO SCRAP CCTV MONITORING AT CONTROL ROOM


The Isle of Wight Council are planning to effectively mothball the Island’s only CCTV control room as part of their £600,000 a year PFI savings, Island Echo can reveal.

At present, a specially trained team monitor the dozens of cameras dotted around the Isle of Wight from the control room at Island Roads’ HQ in Newport. Staff are able to take control of the cameras, both night and day, to provide real-time visuals as things unfold.

However, the powers that be at County Hall are planning to either redeploy or completely ditch its 5 members of staff at the control room in favour of simply recording footage for review at a later time. CCTV will still function on the Island but won’t be actively monitored around the clock.

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Concerns have been raised that with no staff to man the cameras there will be no facility to provide instant assistance to the emergency services such as following a suspect, tracking a missing person or reporting a crime in progress. However, Hampshire Constabulary will have access

A prime example of the importance of controllable CCTV is February 2017 when a drink-driver was followed through the streets of Newport before plunging into the River Medina. The whole incident was caught on camera and later presented in court.

Furthermore, it is thought that more pressure will be placed on Police officers as they will have to collate evidence from the recordings themselves.

The proposed closure is part of the Isle of Wight Council’s agreed initial savings with Island Roads following a renegotiation of the highways PFI contract.  The arrangement, which started on 1st April, is a £600,000-a-year cost reduction over the next 18 years of the agreement, or £11.4 million in total when index-linked.

The council, supported by Jasmine Consulting, is continuing to work with Island Roads to identify further savings that can be implemented from April 2020. When completed, the total savings over the lifetime of the contract could total around £40million.

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In a statement, the Council have confirmed to Island Echo that the arrangement’s implementation will lead to a number of post reductions at Island Roads and its subcontractors, including 5 from CCTV monitoring and similar numbers in the area of street cleaning and also grass cutting.

Councillor Ian Ward, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, added:

“This very successful contract has transformed our Island roads since it started six years ago, and it will continue to do so. It has delivered some of the best roads in the country and, with these savings, it represents even better value for money for Islanders.

“The savings do not affect road resurfacing and footpath improvements plus high priority maintenance and road safety works, which will continue as required.

“It does however mean people will find, some aspects of maintenance and services reduced for example, grass verges will not be cut as often to encourage biodiversity, and roadside bins will not be emptied as frequently. However, these changes are an evolution of the original contract as we have discovered the service was better than needed in some areas.”

In all areas, Island Roads is looking at redeployment and other avenues to keep any compulsory redundancies to a minimum.

The council has also agreed to look favourably on applications from those affected by redundancy for any jobs it advertises. In practice this means, that if the person meets a council job specification, the authority will guarantee an interview.

Service director at Island Roads, Steve Ashman, said:

“While under this new agreement, we will be providing a reduced level of service, we are confident residents will continue to receive an extensive, high quality programme of highways improvement and maintenance.”

There appears to have been no consultation with members of the public about the proposed closure of the CCTV control room, despite its important to public safety.

The news comes just weeks after a series of anti social behaviour incidents in Newport town centre and at a time when Police resources are stretched.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.

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John Russell
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John Russell

Why broadcast this news,plays straight into any criminals hands. Nice one.

Martin
Guest
Martin

What a bonus for all the criminals on the Island…. I bet they’re rubbing their hands in anticipation…

Tony Brooman
Guest
Tony Brooman

Once again, a classic example of totally inappropriate savings from the so called “Powers That Be.” There are certainly savings to be made at all levels of civil service but not by the destruction of vital jobs, functionality and service to the community provision. We have lost elements of all care provision within the community; we are losing highways services; we have lost policing provision we are now threatened with the loss of monitored CCTV protection. Very soon we shall descend into a modern day stone-age where “anything goes,” “lawlessness rules” and there will be no redress for losses.

Lois
Guest
Lois

As someone who works on some of the doors in the town centres this is a risk to our safely and that of the public. Often the cctv operators will track potential offenders through the town and give us warning they are heading our way. Also provide live feedback to the police to help get them to the right places quickly. The loss of these cameras being monitored is a real issue

Sue Salter
Guest
Sue Salter

It IS right to let us know of Council plans that affect our safety and this is one plan that really needs re-thinking because if this decision is certain and vandalism and bad behaviour gets worse we will all suffer…once again the council are revealing their stupidity

June Burton
Guest
June Burton

What a fantastic idea!!! And yet they want to tackle anti social behaviour in Newport which is getting worse daily.After the disclosute of their incredible salaries last week maybe the clowns should take a pay cut to make up the deficit. The rest of us have to take pay cuts and put up with less and less services for massive Council Tax bills. Time they were replaced by people who actuallt care about the Island and its residentd

none given
Guest
none given

clearly not emptying the roadside bins frequently will ensure that tourists, locals and holidaymakers will have their quality of life and their memories of the area ruined, by the councils stupidity. Perhaps they can reduce the vast amount paid into the council workers pensions, from council tax and clean the streets instead, as we expect and pay for.

Angry
Guest
Angry

What stupidity broadcasting that closure and “dumping “ of staff is disgraceful after all the hours they have put into keeping the public safe I’m sure there is a better place to cut back on money ooo I have an idea let’s cut council wages

Linda
Guest
Linda

Cut top brass council wages not services. Due to lack of police on the Island, surely, anything that helps thd few remaining officers should be a priority.

MCFC
Guest
MCFC

If the top dogs at the council were not on such ridiculous amounts of money then there would be no need to make these cuts. This is an essential service.

K Jones
Guest
K Jones

What stupid plonker came up with this idea?

Victoria Leach
Guest
Victoria Leach

This is absolutely ludicrous. Crime will definitely be on the increase!!! It needs 24/7 monitoring. The Police are overstretched as it is.

Alex Smith
Guest
Alex Smith

Unfortunately the council are being forced to cut our services as funding from central government is cut. Our MP Bob Sealey voted with the Tories to cut funding a further 56%.
The only way we can reverse this trend is to Vote them out of office to stop the collapse of local services.

Tax payer
Guest
Tax payer

Yet another PFI that’s not working

fred black
Guest
fred black

best roads in the country, I think not, they would save the £600k a year if they put proper road surfaces in, look at great preston road that was resurface, deep dents in the road all ready same as Alexanda Road new surface now dangerous to use, so if the council insisted that Island roads put the right surface down then the council wouldn’t have to save money on the PFI….Keep cctv operators they are vital, it will cost council more in long run to access the footage and analyse it,

Steve Johnson
Guest
Steve Johnson

What a surprise! Get rid of the useless Stewards instead!

Sam
Guest
Sam

I understood that the cctv operators also took out of hours call for dog warden and, more importantly, those who have panic alarms for times of emergency.??!!

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