Uckfield town centre’s “fairly old” CCTV system is to be improved, the town council pledged at a meeting on Monday.
Members of the full council adopted the annual plan for 2017/18 which listed 14 items to guide its work in the coming financial year.
One item stated: “Implement improvements to the operation of the CCTV in Uckfield town centre.”
The council’s financial documents also show it has accrued nearly £24,000 in reserves towards a “CCTV replacement programme” and will add a further £2,000 to the pot in the financial year beginning in April.
Discussions on updating and upgrading the CCTV cameras took place in private at the meeting.
Members excluded the public under the provisions of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960.
Improvements to CCTV
A member of the public commented to the council about the CCTV cameras as part of a consultation exercise carried out last month. The consultation report was put before the meeting.
The person said: “Implement improvements to the operation of CCTV in Uckfield Town Centre.
“It is my understanding that the current CCTV system within the town centre is owned by Wealden District Council and left to the Sussex Police to operate and monitor.
Damage to new High Street trees
“However, I further understand that the whole system is antiquated and not working and, therefore, in real terms the town of Uckfield does not have any CCTV coverage.
“This was recently demonstrated when the new planted trees in the High Street were damaged by unknown persons and despite a number of CCTV cameras in the area nothing was captured due to the non-operation of the equipment.
“In the same way as car parking in the town, there is a ‘stand-off’ between the District Council and the police as to who is responsible and who will pay for it.
Reduction in crime
“As a result the general public have captured the moment and now realise that there is no enforcement for parking and no CCTV to monitor what is going on in and around the town centre.
“I fully support good CCTV being installed and operated within the town as I genuinely believe from experience that it will assist in the reduction of crime, better parking and better monitoring of all events taking place.”
Town clerk’s reply
The report included a response from town clerk Holly Goring “for purposes of clarity”.
She wrote: “The town council owns the CCTV system but the system is monitored by Sussex Police.
“Unfortunately the angle of the cameras and locations of vandalism made it difficult to capture any footage of the tree incidents, so we worked with Sussex Police and shops along the High Street to try and obtain clear footage of the suspects from other sources.
Cameras are ‘fairly old now’
“You are correct in stating that the cameras are fairly old now, so the town council has been working with Sussex Police over the last couple of months to look into the systems and options available using modern technologies.
“CCTV is a fairly complex area and a sensitive subject so we have been doing a great deal of research to look into the best option for Uckfield Town Centre.
No ‘stand-off’ with Sussex Police
“I’d like to reassure you that there is no stand-off with the Police in terms of CCTV. We are working with Sussex Police to identify a suitable system for replacement.
Town centre parking enforcement
“Parking enforcement is a separate matter and we are currently pushing for options to be explored by Wealden DC and Sussex Police to resolve these issues.”
Town councillors also discussed town centre parking issues in private.