CCTV cameras could be used to generate revenue for district council

A CCTV camera in Huntingdon

A CCTV camera in Huntingdon - Credit: Archant

Huntingdonshire District Council is seeking a commercial partner for a new CCTV and security services company.

The authority is set to launch a joint venture company which will see it outsource some of its CCTV provision to a commercial partner in order to eventually wipe out the cost of running the service.

Each year it costs the council £450,000 for CCTV, with half paid by Cambridge City Council and around £225,000 paid by town and parish councils which make use of the network of 260 cameras.

By creating a new venture, the district council hopes to partner with a company, within the industry, to promote, outsource some functions and ultimately secure contracts.

Councillor Robin Howe, before he stepped down as leader, said: “We have talked to private companies who are in the service sector and who want to offer CCTV services to their customers.

“The discussions we would have with them is to say we have got this platform here which we can extend and we could offer you 24/7 surveillance for your customers that we offer to our customers,” Cllr Howe added.

“The income we would get from that [secured contracts] would feed into our accounts and with that we would pay the bills for our existing CCTV service.”

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The council has set up a holding company which will own shares in the proposed CCTV business.

Councillor Daryl Brown, executive member for commercialisation, said: “We are now looking for a commercial partner and we have had about four companies say there are interested in the CCTV and security services.”

Along with CCTV, the authority is also looking to set up another venture which will include its document centre.

“We are just setting out to do both of these to make both of them cost neutral to the council. These two services can cost the council £1.1million per year to run and we could generate this by 2021,” Cllr Brown added.

Despite talks already beginning with potential partners it has been questioned whether forming the venture is right for residents.

Councillor Barry Chapman said: “It is in the interest of the council to ask whether this is the best thing for the residents before going ahead. It’s just been dropped out of the blue that this service is moving to a third party.

“What this does is take away the accountability of the service, councillors won’t be able to raise concerns about the running of the service at council meetings.”