HFD BID Fights for CCTV Survival

Recently funding has been pulled from CCTV by Hereford City Council, one of many partners who contribute to the running of this essential service. Herefordshire Council is the main funder. This has left the service at risk with the strong possibility of monitoring being cut by half.

The Hereford BID has been fighting for the shortfall to be found, asking Herefordshire Council to make up the difference. With funds being short in the county, this is a difficult situation for everyone.

We believe CCTV is a critical service that is highly valued by businesses and public alike. It is vital that Herefordshire Council step in and fill the gap given the vast amount of intelligence and safety cameras offer.

In the long run we are seeking a 5-year funding solution to avoid the continuous annual call for funds which regularly puts the service, as we know it, at risk. CCTV saves lives and reduces crime. It must be well supported or communities will pay a terrible price.

Below is a letter written to the press today highlighting the seriousness of the situation.

More details to follow.

Dear Hereford Times,

There is a strong possibility that the operating hours of CCTV may be cut after May this year by 50% due to a shortage of funding which totals £62k per annum. This, we believe is a risk to the safety of the public and detriment of businesses both in the day and night-time economies. It is a crisis in the making and must not be allowed to happen.

Writing on behalf of the Board of the Hereford BID and its 500 members, we are gravely concerned over the imminent risk to public safety in both Hereford and County as crimes of all nature will be harder to solve, let alone the diminished effect of a camera on those who might otherwise commit a crime. The loss to the business community is also unfathomable. Currently CCTV plays a major and central role in assessing incidents and bringing perpetrators to justice. It deters shoplifting, anti-social behaviour and more sinister crimes including violence and assaults. Where it does not deter, it can often contribute significantly to criminals being identified and/ or their actions being recorded. CCTV leverages a disproportionate amount of value for money that allows a limited numbers of officers to be deployed elsewhere.

At the heart of the problem is the issue of who should pay for CCTV services, something that was previously shared between the Police Crime Commissioner, Herefordshire Council, and local partners. Whoever that might be it is worth noting that first and foremost the public benefit in being kept safe via the protection of our exceptional police officers who use the information to coordinate a response. This relates to not just crime but community related issues too. Expenditure for the force is allocated by the Police Crime Commissioner (PCC) who, over the years, has provided thousands to Herefordshire Council as a part-contribution to running costs. However, in recent years, the PCC only offers grants for capital projects such as the upgraded cameras throughout the county which now total 179. Running costs are not provided for. The CCTV control room in the city, run by Herefordshire Council, has just one operative at any time, so is already underfunded and stretched.

We ask Herefordshire Council, as well as all political parties, to pledge their ongoing support for this critical service and find the shortfall of £62,000. Out of the total annual budget of approximately £200,000, the Council currently pays £113,000. This needs to be resolved, not just this year but also for the next 5, to prevent the annual ‘begging bowl’ conversations partners have. This can, and one day will, result in the sudden breakdown of the service unless we change the model. CCTV is critical to the public and businesses alike and needs to be put on a secure footing. 

The local authority is the only body that is currently able to resolve the situation - albeit a hard and uncomfortable one in a climate where funding is being constantly reduced to the county. A failure to find solution will result in communities paying a terrible price.

Yours sincerely

Mike Truelove

Chief Executive 


Keywords: Hereford CCTV Service at Risk Hereford Business Imporvement District HBID Fights for Members Essential Service