Dundee Evening Telegraph – £250k bill for CCTV

As originally published in the Dundee Evening Telegraph on 17/04/17

More than £250,000 of taxpayers’ money has been spent on maintaining CCTV cameras in Dundee over the last four years, the Tele can reveal.

In the last financial year alone, Dundee City Council paid £69,371.33 refurbishing some of its 87 cameras.

The most recent update from the local authority shows that there are currently five with “minor faults” which are not working.

The peak expenditure came in 2013/14 when £74,046.12 was spent maintaining the cameras.

Civil liberties group Big Brother Watch has called on the council to regularly review its CCTV network to ensure it’s making a difference.

Ron Neave, of the Fintry Community Council, is supportive of the devices.

He and fellow community council members are currently looking into the possibility of installing cameras at the Powrie Playpark after it was hit by vandals. Mr Neave added: “If they are affordable, then yes I support CCTV. I believe they are a good deterrent and there’s actually something out there at the moment that can be bought for £20 which looks like a camera.”

Big Brother Watch has been critical in the past of local authorities forking out unreasonable amounts of money on CCTV.

But while the groups states that surveillance is important, it’s adamant it is not a substitute for police resources.

Daniel Nesbitt, research director of Big Brother Watch, said: “CCTV should always be used proportionately and only when it can be proved to have a good impact. Far too often cameras are in the wrong place, not picking up anything of use or simply not acting as a deterrent. Dundee City Council should be regularly reviewing its CCTV network and if the cameras aren’t making a difference they should be scaled back.”