Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has agreed that town-centre CCTV should no longer be provided in Newry City, Ballynahinch, Downpatrick, Kilkeel, Newcastle and Warrenpoint.
The decision comes as crime levels throughout the district continue at low levels, based on reported crime in all categories, and as the equipment used has reached the end of its useful life.
The equipment, which was installed 10 years ago, has in recent years been experiencing a high incidence of faults, resulting in long periods of time where the CCTV cameras are not in operation, as well as increasing repair costs. It has also been estimated that the costs to replace the equipment and update the supporting technology would also be very high.
There are also concerns with the effectiveness of the cameras as there is no evidence currently available which can measure whether CCTV footage is contributing to criminal prosecutions.
Other reasons such as the difficulty in standardising CCTV monitoring and surveillance across the district, as well as budgetary constraints and the desire to provide ratepayers with maximum value for money; have prompted the decision to cease town-centre CCTV.
The imminent introduction of new and stricter data protection legislation will also likely increase both the financial and administrative burden of operating CCTV, as well as restricting its future use.
Although a CCTV monitoring and surveillance service will continue to be provided next year, during the course of 2018-19 the Council will remove faulty CCTV cameras from the six town-centres and completely withdraw the entire town-centre CCTV service by March 31, 2019.
The Council remains committed to maintaining and enhancing public safety through its effective partnership working with the PSNI, the local Policing & Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), as well as its own Community Safety Wardens.
The Council is inviting views from members of the public and other interested parties on its decision to withdraw town-centre CCTV.
Further information, including the consultation document can be downloaded from the News Section within the Council’s website, by emailing: email@example.com, by telephoning 0300 200 7830 in writing at the Council’s Downpatrick Offices.
Closing date for completed questionnaires or comments is Friday 1 June 2018 at 5pm. Copies of the consultation documentation are also available in alternative formats upon request.