Edinburgh taxpayers paying over £800,000 for '˜ageing' CCTV system

Edinburgh taxpayers are paying Police Scotland more than £800,000 a year to use a CCTV network that is 'creaking at the seams'.
The city has over 226 CCTV camerasThe city has over 226 CCTV cameras
The city has over 226 CCTV cameras

The council may consider developing a “single integrated digital operations centre for the city” – but no plans are in place at this stage.

The total cost of the public space strategy to the council is £955,354 but only £128,000 is paid back by police for use of the service.

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A councillor has hit out at the authority’s arrangement with Police Scotland, and labelled it “a scandal”.

Labour Cllr Gordon Munro said: “There’s £827,354 that we do not get back from that – the highest user of this service is Police Scotland.

“We make no demand on Police Scotland – but Police Scotland make a demand on us for the CCTV images. We get no income from them, we get no investment in the infrastructure. Yet we provide them with £2.6 million a year, ten times more than any other local authority in Scotland.

“I think that’s a scandal and I also think that’s something we need to tackle as an organisation.”

He added: “We have agreed a service level agreement with Police Scotland but we have still to enter into discussion with them about the cost of new equipment along with an income contribution from Police Scotland to cover the cost of this non-statutory service .

“The only opportunity we have now is to look at this in regard to next year’s budget. This generosity and lackadaisical approach has to stop – we cannot afford it .”

The council has 226 CCTV cameras including 17 that are re-deployable. Around £634,000 is spend on staff operations of the service and almost £62,000 goes towards maintenance.

Independent Cllr Claire Bridgman added: “My understanding is that the current state of the CCTV system is that it’s literally creaking at the seams.”

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The council’s internal audit report revealed that there is a high risk over “a lack of corporate CCTV strategy” and “a number of significant control gaps” relating to data protection, the council’s information security and records management policies.

The council’s executive director of resources, Stephen Moir, said it was not appropriate to simply replace the CCTV network with a like-for-like upgrade.

He said: “The current CCTV network is no longer suitable for the future. A simple replacement with a like-for-like CCTV network is not the right answer for the authority or for the city.

“We need to look at a much more integrated solution with our public partners.”

A council spokeswoman said: “We have established a working group looking at the future options for our network.”