The estimated cost of this Upgrade and CCTV Relocation Proposal is £2.423m, to be funded from Capital and CIL monies.1
As a minimum, a ‘debate’ about spending £5 million capital and £500,000+ revenue should include a discussion of effectiveness. Councillors were unaware there were questions to ask. They seemed equally unaware that officers had noted CCTV isn’t a legal obligation. The decision was made without considering the economics and effectiveness of CCTV.
HRA are obsessed with street care, so would £500,000 revenue help enhance meeting residents’ desire for clean and smooth pavements? What about £5M capital?2 The three minute ‘debate’3 that was devoted to this critical issue is less than a new bike shed would get. But then they understand bike sheds. Don’t they? None of the economic points relating to an efficient use of council funds were mentioned. It was rubber stamped.
The Summary statement says CCTV makes, “Havering a safer place.”4 The question is whether it will improve the current situation. Is there evidence CCTV makes a difference to levels of crime? Item 7, points 2-8,5 is silent on whether CCTV successfully fights crime.
The CCTV programme is very expensive.6,7 It is additional to £300,000+ pa for Havering’s five funded police officers.
Summary point 7 says, “…an effective and reliable CCTV system plays an essential part in assisting the Council to fulfil its duties under the Crime & Disorder Act 1998, which requires local authorities to work with the police and other partners to prevent and reduce crime and disorder”.4 (my emphasis)
The police don’t think CCTV is that great.
“Overall, use of CCTV makes for a small, but statistically significant, reduction in crime, but this generalisation needs to be tempered by careful attention to (a) the type of crime being addressed and (b) the setting of the CCTV intervention. CCTV is more effective when directed at reducing theft of and from vehicles, while it has no impact on levels of violent crime.”8 (my emphasis)
Havering’s CCTV has been superseded by 1,000s of private CCTV systems and 10s of 1,000s of smart phones. This cabinet ‘debate’ was abysmal.
1 (Public Pack)Agenda Document for Cabinet, 08/03/2023 19:30 (havering.gov.uk) Item 5
2 The 2023 Capital programme is interesting and demonstrates that £5M is significant Appendix 1 – Existing Capital Programme Detail.pdf (havering.gov.uk) The £5M just about doubles the road resurfacing budget from £6M to £11M. This would reduce the costs to residents paying for damaged vehicles.
3 Go to minutes 1-4 for the ‘debate’ Annotator Player (sonicfoundry.com) See also Report detail p21 para 9:1
5 p17 para 2:7 main report £500,000 revenue
6 p18 para 6:3 main report £5,000,000 capital
7 p15 See Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (legislation.gov.uk) There is no obligation to fund surveillance equipment. This is noted at p20 para 8:1 There is, however, a duty to have a Crime and Disorder committee which Havering doesn’t have. Para 5:1c (a)
8 http://library.college.police.uk/docs/what-works/What-works-briefing-effects-of-CCTV-2013.pdf p2