Supergrass: AlrightiTunesAmazon

Supergrass: AlrightiTunesAmazon

Harrogate Council’s ‘outrageous’ CCTV locations

Harrogate Council’s ‘outrageous’ CCTV locations

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Jacob Webster at 9:09am 6th March 2020.

The leader of the opposition on the Council calls CCTV locations as 'outrageous'

    • The locations of CCTV cameras across the Harrogate district's been described as 'outrageous'.
    • Lib Dem councillor Pat Marsh made the comments at a meeting
    • It was revealed the council has 27 cameras monitoring Civic Centre but only three at the region's public parks.
    • It's as this year's surveillance budget has been cut by more than half - down to £36,000.

The leader of the opposition on Harrogate Borough Council has described the district’s CCTV camera locations as “outrageous.”

Lib Dem councillor Pat Marsh was speaking at a meeting where it was revealed the council has 27 cameras monitoring its new multi-million pound headquarters – but only three at the region’s public parks.

The council’s community safety and CCTV manager, Julia Stack, told the meeting how North Yorkshire County Council has cut this year’s surveillance budget by more than half – down from £95,000 to £36,000.

Councillor Marsh said:

“You are doing an incredible job under the circumstances, but I would like to put on record my disappointment that you are not getting more funding. It is a very valuable service and I am saddened it has got a reduction. 

“And having 27 cameras covering this building, but only three in our parks, is just outrageous.”

Harrogate Borough Council Civic Centre
Harrogate Borough Council's Civic Centre

Conservative councillor Nick Brown also said the amount of cameras at the Civic Centre is “quite a lot” – before adding “there are rather more pressing areas” they could be located. 

As well as budget cuts, the district’s CCTV service has also seen its staff numbers shrink from eight to five – but it still manages to operate around the clock. 

Mrs Stack said:

“Historically we have had eight members of staff so we are doing really well to carry on. 

“It is open 24 hours, all year round, but there are times to be fair when we are not able to be fully staffed. Running the service with five people is quite a challenge.”

CCTV cameras 2

Councillor Marsh said the prospect of having even less staff looking out for members of the public is “quite scary.”

But Mrs Stack assured councillors the cameras will continue to provide a closely-watched service – and added further upgrades could be on the way. 

She said:

“We can hear the police airwaves, so if they are talking about a particular job, like a car coming in from Pannal, we like to think we are one step ahead and can be ready looking for them.

“In recent years we have upgraded the controls behind the scenes. In the next steps, we are looking to upgrade the equipment that is out there in the streets.”

There are a total of 210 council-operated cameras across the district, 54 of which are in car parks.

Harrogate and its surrounding area has 42, whilst Ripon has 10, Knaresborough eight and Starbeck one. 

So far in 2019/2020, the cameras have captured evidence of 198 police incidents.