Just 4 years ago, this article was published by BBC news highlighting the vast swathes of cuts to CCTV budgets across the UK.

In 2019 some residents in Rayleigh feel that we need CCTV to help reduce crime and improve community safety. The article goes into detail why CCTV budgets were an easy target for cash strapped local authorities and perhaps this is one of the reasons why we should tread carefully when looking at the possibility of reintroducing CCTV into our town.

I am always mindful that we are spending public money and not our own and decisions taken have to take in the views of 30000+ people and not just our own.

There has been some talk by individual Councillors of meeting the funding of such a system by increasing the precept, which essentially means increasing Council Tax again. Personally I am not in favour of this approach as there are more than one way to skin a cat.

Before I outline my views on funding, I’d really like to hear from residents on how they think this should be funded. We have to bear in mind that CCTV systems are not a ‘set and forget’ exercise. They need continued maintenance and to be effective, we could be looking at the cost of someone monitoring the system. There will be upgrades required in the future and also we need to keep hackers out of our system by ensure we meet the latest security. All of this will come at a price and it could be one that residents don’t wish to bare.

We could trim the fat elsewhere and reduce the number of pretty flowers in the High Street or claw back the funding we give to private companies to run the Trinity Fair. Are these the kind of sacrifices you would be willing to make?

Let me know in the comments below what you think.

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About the author 

James Newport

Essex County Councillor for Rayleigh North, Rochford District Councillor for Downhall & Rawreth and Rayleigh Town Councillor for Sweyne.

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