ELDC to probe CCTV contract

An example of the graffit which was sprayed onto Barclays Bank in the Market Place
An example of the graffit which was sprayed onto Barclays Bank in the Market Place

East Lindsey District Council is setting up a scrutiny panel to look into controversy surrounding the contact for a new CCTV system.

The council splashed out £400,000 on state-of-the-art digital cameras for seven market towns – Horncastle, Louth, Alford, Chapel St Leonards, Ingoldmells, Mablethorpe, Sutton on Sea and Skegness.

However, the roll out of 97 new cameras was delayed for several months as BT struggled to complete work to upgrade the system.

Horncastle’s digital cameras were only switched on a couple of months ago – more than three years after the initial order was placed.

The delays led to a stand-off between the district council and BT who continued to charge £56,000 a year to keep the outdated system running.

At the time, ELDC’s deputy leader Graham Marsh admitted failings in the system were letting people down and he accused BT of holding the authority to ‘ransome.”

Coun Marsh sent a strongly worded letter to BT chief executive Gavin Patterson. It was signed by all seven town councils, and Lincolnshire Police and Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones.

The scrunity panel will include Horncastle mayor Fiona Martin who is a town and district councillor.

Speaking at this month’s town council meeting, she said: “We (the panel) won’t be looking at whether CCTV works or not.

“If you remember, there were a lot of problems and delays installing the new equipment and other issues stemming from around that.

“Unfortunately, we can’t turn the clock back to the very start of the process but we will see what lessons can be learned.

“I very much hope the town council will have an input.”

The town council was especially critical of the delays amid claims the ‘old’ system did not work at night and failed to record images of several crimes.

Meanwhile, the new cameras could be used to track down whoever was responsible for the recent outbreak of graffiti in the town.

Horncastle Police confirmed their investigation is ‘on-going.’ Graffiti was sprayed on a number of buildings including a bank and the library.

It is believed CCTV coverage supplied by a business led to the identity of a possible suspect but officers have been unable to locate the offender.

It is understood he has left the area.

Police are still appealing for people to submit reports of the graffiti so they can priortise studying any digital coverage of the incident.