CCTV cameras in Flintshire are set to be monitored in Wrexham after measures to cut costs were approved by both local authorities.
There are 120 cameras in the county, which are currently watched closely by staff based at the local authority’s HQ in Mold.
However, as the council prepares to knock down the part of County Hall where the screens are based, officers have been looking at the possibility of relocating the service to Wrexham Council’s CCTV control room on Wrexham Industrial Estate.
Last month Wrexham.com reported that executive board members had unanimously backed plans to create shared and fully integrated CCTV service with Flintshire Council
While Flintshire will remain responsible for the costs of fibre connections and the maintenance and replacement of its cameras, the overall amount it spends is expected to reduce from almost £185,000 down to £141,000 per year.
The move was ratified by members of the authority’s ruling Labour administration at a meeting held yesterday, during which one senior politician said it was committed to making residents feel safe.
It means Wrexham will now take responsibility for managing the joint system for both counties.
Cllr Billy Mullin, cabinet member for corporate management and assets, said: “As we know, we’re going into the final stages where phases three and four of Flintshire County Council’s campus will be demolished.
“Like it or lump it, we have to make some decisions regarding the CCTV system we have located there.
“It’s not a statutory requirement that we’ve got to have CCTV, but we do owe it to the communities and the people we represent to make their lives safer.
“Wrexham is the most sensible choice and it brings together the work they do under one roof and makes the best sense to do that.”
Staff currently employed by Flintshire to monitor the system will be moved over to Wrexham, where new screens will be installed to show footage from the county.
Council officers previously warned there was a risk the area could be left with no CCTV service if the merger did not progress.
Other locations considered included Flintshire’s recently refurbished offices in Ewloe, but it was decided it would not offer the same level of savings.
Neal Cockerton, chief officer for housing and assets, said the change was a positive one.
However, he said he believed North Wales Police, which uses the cameras to help tackle crime, should start contributing more money towards them.
He said: “The system is used excessively by North Wales Police and quite rightly so. It’s also used and surveillance is directed through to the control centre by police dialling into those facilities.
“However, whilst North Wales Police use it extensively, they contribute the least to this system.
“It’s a situation which is largely historic, but it’s a situation which needs to be rebalanced moving forward to be quite honest.”
He added that officers would be holding discussions with North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones in order to try and gain extra funding from the force.
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme).
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