AN ESSENTIAL CCTV role is being dropped by West Mercia Police, the Advertizer can reveal.
The Oswestry CCTV co-ordinator position, which has been held by former town police inspector Jim Stafford, was cut on Tuesday, April 1 as the regional force seeks to make multi-million pound cuts.
And, despite the hope that Oswestry Town Council will take it on, the role is now hanging in the balance after the local authority revealed it is still in talks.
Oswestry Mayor, Councillor Chris Schofield said: “The news is disappointing, particularly acknowledging the way that the scheme has been developed with a local co-ordinator and local volunteers.
“It is important and we are currently in talks with West Mercia Police and Shropshire Council and looking at the options available, but we cannot commit to say we are taking on responsibility for the role at this time.”
During his time in the post, Mr Stafford has helped to develop a modernisation plan for Oswestry’s CCTV coverage, with plans currently in the pipeline to upgrade the decade-old system at a cost of at least £60,000 and it had been hoped he would help oversee those plans.
A substantial bid to upgrade and maintain CCTV for the next three years is currently part of a Shropshire-wide bidding package, which the Police and Crime Commissioner, Bill Longmore, is due to look at later this month
Barry Sheldon, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, confirmed himself and Mr Longmore are in support of the Oswestry bid.
He commented: “CCTV is very important in both our towns and our cities and is very important from a community safety point of view. Therefore it is important that we have the right equipment in place to continue CCTV.”
Mr Sheldon added that the decision to drop the CCTV co-ordinator position was made in February, but said: “We have provided support for that post with a £5,000 grant for a 12-month period.”
“We will continue to support the council in respect of the CCTV co-ordinator and equipment running costs. The big cost at the moment is replacing the equipment,” he added.