Businesses in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter and St Peters Quarter Business Improvement Districts are lobbying Derby City Council to reverse a decision to de-commission the CCTV system in the city centre and surrounding area.
Both BIDS have now been notified by the City Council that the public area CCTV system, which has operated in the city centre since 1998 and also covers parts of Normanton, Arboretum and Allenton, will be shut down on March 31 2015.
In a letter the city council states that the future of the CCTV system had been under review since 2012. It continues: ‘Almost all of the funding required to maintain and operate the system over the past 16 years,with the current annual operating costs being £250k, has been provided by the City Council.
‘Given the squeeze on public funding and the significant savings the Council has to find over the next few years the Council has no choice but to continue with its plan to remove financial support for public area CCTV.
‘We currently plan to end the operation of public area CCTV on the 31 March 2015. At this time monitoring of the cameras will end and the process of decommissioning the equipment will commence.’
Martin Langsdale, chair of the Cathedral Quarter Management Group and Stephen Jeffery, St Peters Quarter Board chair said today that the decision would have potentially disastrous consequences for the city centre.
Mr Langsdale said: “CCTV coverage of the area is not a luxury– it is a necessity.
“CCTV is vital to support the Police in their work to keep the Cathedral Quarter and everyone who lives, works and visits here safe and secure during the day and night.
“We feel that the effects of this decision will unfortunately be increased crime and anti social behaviour, a reduction in detection rates and a negative impact on the businesses’ and visitors’ feeling of safety which could potentially deter people from visiting the area.
“The Cathedral Quarter is the heart of the evening economy and we are particularly concerned that this move could potentially mean that the city loses its coveted Purple Flag status– which is something that the BID has worked hard with our partners to achieve.
“We have offered to make some contribution to the cost of new cameras over the years but we do not have anywhere near the £250,000 that the City Council say they need to continue to keep the cameras operating.”
Mr Jeffery continued: “Combatting crime and anti social behaviour is a key priority for St Peters Quarter and our businesses, Ranger team and Derbyshire police have worked very effectively in partnership to tackle such issues as street drinking, shop theft and anti social behaviour.
“Turning off the CCTV cameras will have a very detrimental effect on this joined up working and I am dismayed at this decision.
“Yet again, this is a baseline activity that the City Council has committed to providing. The BID has organised complementary activity to support this work. This includes the establishment of the Ranger team, Business Watch schemes, street champions and radios to improve communications between our businesses, the Police and the CCTV monitoring teams.
“This commitment by the BID and the businesses will be severely hampered without the CCTV cameras and monitoring and could have potentially disastrous effects on the well-being of everyone in the area.”