The PSNI decision to cut its funding for Londonderry’s CCTV has been branded a “retrograde and short-sighted” decision.
The funding cut came to light at the council’s health and community meeting in Derry on Thursday.
A report brought before the committee stated that in 2015 the council agreed a three-year contract to integrate and expand its CCTV systems.
Each of the partners involved had committed funding until March 2018, with the council providing £77,500, PSNI £62,500 annually and ILEX URC (later The Executive Office) £18,000.
Since then, 23 additional cameras have been added, and 39 older cameras have been replaced. All cameras are now monitored independently on a 24/7 basis with the city centre manager acting as data controller.
Further funding has been secured from other sources to expand CCTV coverage on bridges and along the river.
The PSNI however has advised that they intend to reduce funding support by 20 per cent from £62,500 to £50,000 per annum for 2018/19 and have stated that it is their ‘aspiration to reduce costs of public space CCTV further’.
Council has confirmed support of £77,500 for next year, while no confirmation has yet been received from the Executive Office regarding future funding for the cameras at Ebrington.
The report stated that the reduction of funding will mean that existing CCTV provision can be maintained, but no new provision can be rolled out unless further rates investment is made or external capital investment is secured.
SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack said: “This is a very retrograde and short-sighted decision by the authorities.
“The CCTV in this city has proved to be such a success on both saving lives and helping to protect people and keep them safe.”