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We can’t afford to keep Norwich’s current CCTV system, say council bosses

A CCTV camera with City Hall in the background. Norwich City Council says it needs to replace the city's CCTV system because it can no longer afford to keep running it. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

A CCTV camera with City Hall in the background. Norwich City Council says it needs to replace the city's CCTV system because it can no longer afford to keep running it. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

The network of CCTV cameras which keep tabs on Norwich city centre needs to be replaced - because council bosses say they cannot afford to keep the current set-up running.

Kevin Maguire, Norwich City Council's cabinet member for safe city environment. Pic: Archant Library.Kevin Maguire, Norwich City Council's cabinet member for safe city environment. Pic: Archant Library.

Norwich City Council provides 48 cameras covering the city centre and clubbing district, as well as some parks and council-owned shopping parades outside of the city centre.

It was installed at a cost of £650,000, after a six-year wait and wrangles over who would pay for it in 1996.

The cameras record 24 hours each day, 365 days a year. Recorded footage is automatically retained for 28 days until it is automatically overwritten by the system, with Norfolk police able to access footage.

But City Hall bosses have warned they cannot afford to keep them unless changes are made.

In a report, which will come before members of City Hall’s Labour-controlled cabinet on Wednesday, November 14, officers say: “The future of the current civic space CCTV system is not sustainable, given the high running costs, the continued reductions in council budgets and the age of the current equipment.”

Councillors will be asked to agree to put a contract for a replacement CCTV system out for tender. The council says, because of that process, it cannot say how much replacing the current system would cost.

But the idea is that, given the changes in technology over the years, whatever system is installed should be cheaper to run - although City Hall is still keen to get help towards the costs.

The council would also look to integrate its housing service CCTV cameras, used to monitor housing public spaces including the city’s housing tower blocks into a single system.

Kevin Maguire, cabinet member for safe city environment, said: “Historically, funding for CCTV has come from central government, but that’s no longer the case.

“We fully recognise the importance of having CCTV and because the existing equipment needs replacing we’ve been talking to other organisations about the possibility of assistance with funding.

“Norfolk Constabulary has confirmed it will contribute a sum towards specific policing requirements of the infrastructure for the new CCTV system.”

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