OSWESTRY town councillors say they have been left reeling from the change to a policy allowing CCTV operators direct access to police.

At the town council’s full meeting on Wednesday, town clerk Arren Roberts confirmed that CCTV operators in Oswestry, who play a role in directing officers in pursuit of suspects, will now have to ring 999 in an emergency or 101.

Mr Roberts explained the council was not consulted by West Mercia Police when the changes were made, after a change in its processes to screen whether officers are ‘the appropriate agency’ to respond to calls.


He added: “CCTV volunteers will lose access to the police radio so will have to ring 999 despite following activity through the cameras.

“The issue is that there’s been no consultation on it and there will be an impact of real-time reporting of crime in the town such as shoplifting.”

He requested that councillors decide on whether to write to West Mercia police and crime commissioner John Campion to express the council’s disappointment on the changes and the lack of consultation.

Councillor Les Maguire raised concerns over emergency calls, adding that 999 is restricted and 101 is not a reliable service.

Cllr Jonathon Upton added: “It’s devaluing a service that is eyes and ears on the ground but if we’re on the same level as any member of the public then what’s the point of the service existing?

“This is why we should’ve been consulted on the service.”

Cllr John Price added: “I think it’s appalling, absolutely disgusting.”

Cllr Sam Chadwick said: “Is the reason why they’re withdrawing is because they don’t have the boots on the ground?

“We do need to be consulted as a partner.

“But what is the point of having the radios and CCTV if they’re not here.”

Deputy mayor Cllr Mike Isherwood added: “It feels like a downgrade in communications.

Get in touch

Share your views on this story by sending a letter to the editor. To get in touch email news@bordercountiesadvertizer.co.uk, or fill in the form on this section of our website.

“The CCTV volunteers aren’t just members of the public but they have the right skills that the police need to harness.

“I worry that the CCTV won’t be prepared to look for things that they heard on the radio and I think it will be detrimental.

“And to not be informed until this stage is very poor.”

It was decided that a letter of disappointment would be written to Mr Campion.