The network of cameras helps keep a watchful eye on the streets around the town centre.But the ageing system has become increasingly unreliable and is said to be badly in need of an upgrade.
At Tuesday night’s council meeting, Town Clerk Gareth Thomas told members two of the cameras had completely broken down while others were faulty – one due to interference from a third party wi-fi system – and another was “on the cusp” of a breakdown.
Mr Thomas revealed that the entire system had failed completely the previous Friday due to a software problem, leaving the town temporarily without its eye-in-the-sky protection until an emergency repair was made.
He said the system’s existing provider had quoted a figure of £8,000 to get the system up and running with an additional figure to upgrade it to a more modern standard. Quotations from other companies had been higher.
He told members: “I suggest we move forward with the current provider to upgrade the system. I am confident that if we go down that road we will have a system that will monitor the town.”Mr Thomas pointed out that the total cost of an upgrade would be £500 to £600 more than had originally been budgeted for and suggested this amount should be taken from reserves.
He also suggested next year’s budget should make provision for adding “a couple more cameras” to the system.
Cllr Phil Thane asked about the initial cost of installing the cameras some years ago and what benefits the system had brought.
Mr Thomas said he believed it had originally cost around £56,000 but that only the police could say exactly how effective it had been.
However, he added: “The police say it has been a very good deterrent.”
Last year’s mayor, Cllr Jon Haddy, said the cameras had initially helped cut down on an anti-social behaviour problem and that the council was still committed to the original expenditure it had made on the system.
Members agreed to take a small amount of cash from reserves to help pay for the repair and upgrade of the system.