Chichester District Council defends decision to cut CCTV cameras

The decision to cut almost a fifth of the district’s CCTV cameras has been defended by the local authority.

Chichester District Council voted earlier this month to remove 16 of its 74 cameras in Chichester, Selsey, the Witterings, Bosham, Midhurst and Petworth.

Cabinet members faced criticism from business leaders over the decision – but they have pledged the service will not be affected.

Paul Over, director for employment and property, said the council had spent three years reviewing the CCTV service.

He stressed Sussex Police had been involved in highlighting the cameras to be axed, to ensure residents’ safety.

“The council could have pulled the plug on CCTV and there could have been nothing,” he said.

“Instead we are going to take out 16 cameras that have never or rarely been used to detect crime.”

In all areas where cameras were being taken down, there was another nearby which could cover the same field of vision, he added.

“Why should we spend public money paying for something that doesn’t add value?” said Mr Over.

“If you earn a certain amount of money, you will buy a very good car; if you don’t, you will buy a lesser car.

“It is no different with public service – you try to trim to the cloth that you have.”

Tessa Callingham, from the Chichester District Business Against Crime scheme, backed the council’s decision to continue with the service.

“Our members consist of retail and night-time businesses and as part of the scheme they have a radio that connects them directly to the CCTV control room, the police and each other, to help tackle crime and disorderly behaviour,” she said.

She added the CCTV was behind low crime levels in the city centre.