More than a quarter of council-run CCTV systems in Borders now out of order

Councillors Stuart Marshall and Watson McAteer next to the surveillance camera watching over the town's Common Haugh car park.
Councillors Stuart Marshall and Watson McAteer next to the surveillance camera watching over the town's Common Haugh car park.

Outdated closed-circuit TV systems monitoring streets in the region are being allowed to fall into disrepair as neither Scottish Borders Council nor Police Scotland will foot the bill to replace them.

A report due to go before the council’s executive committee on Tuesday, April 16, states that the region’s CCTV network is no longer fit for purpose and asks that it be noted that the authority can no longer afford to install and maintain cameras keeping an eye on public spaces.

Currently, 19 of the council’s 70 CCTV cameras are out of order, and the report warns that the number of faulty systems is likely to increase.

There are eight systems, all operated by Police Scotland, covering Duns, Eyemouth, Galashiels, Hawick, Kelso, Melrose, Peebles and Selkirk.

The council is currently spending £40,000 a year repairing the systems, and the report advises councillors that that will continue until the CCTV cameras are “beyond economic repair”.

The author of the report, Martin Joyce, the council’s director of assets and infrastructure, writes: “The council meets all ongoing revenue costs, including energy consumption, telecoms charges, consumable items and annual charges from the contractors who provide maintenance support for each system.

“Police Scotland does not make any financial contribution to the town centre schemes.

“The council’s current position with regards to CCTV provision is not to install new CCTV equipment or replace life-expired systems but to continue to maintain the current assets within the existing revenue budget until they are beyond economic repair.

“Generally the systems are analogue, and with recent technological advances, they are now out of date.

“Replacing the current out-of-date analogue systems with the same technology is not recommended as the technology is old and is becoming obsolete.

“Replacing the current systems with the latest high-definition technology will require a large capital investment.”

Mr Joyce’s report also outlines Police Scotland’s position on the maintenance of CCTV in the Borders, saying: “The police see CCTV as one tool that contributes to public security and the prevention and detection of crime, which reassures the public in areas that it is installed and adds to the overall perception of community in the area.

“The police are therefore supportive of continuing to provide CCTV within local communities.

“Unfortunately the police are not in a position to fund or to contribute to the funding of public-space CCTV in the Borders.”