Town centre CCTV plans shelved after series of setbacks

Sergeant Andy Squires is now splitting his time between Sidmouth and Seaton. Picture by Alex Walton.

Sergeant Andy Squires is now splitting his time between Sidmouth and Seaton. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 6983-28-13AW - Credit: Archant

Escalating installation costs have forced a project to install town-wide CCTV to be shelved.

Sergeant Andy Squires told Sidmouth Town Council on Monday that recent developments regarding costings meant the bid would have to be put on hold ‘for the time being’.

The officer began working towards securing CCTV for the town back in 2016, hoping to raise around £30,000 towards 20 high definition infrared cameras running from the Radway to the seafront.

Sgt Squires told the meeting he had his ‘ducks in a row’ for some time until figures showed installation and equipment costs had put the total ‘out of reach’.

He told the meeting: “The cost of the equipment which is imported from Europe has gone up – quoted with Brexit and the change to currency exchange rate, it has gone up by 20 per cent.

“The quote we have been working on for the last 12 months is now out of date and will increase some what pushing the ceiling further up.”

The neighbourhood team leader was hit by further problems when he discovered the bid’s preferred supplier had ceased its CCTV operation and the chosen electrical firm was under new management.

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The project could have benefited from funding this financial year, but only if the system could be connected to the Exeter CCTV control room via fibre optic cable within the next 31 days.

Sgt Squires said: “All of that amounts to a bit of a disaster, to be honest, which is frustrating for me as I have been working on this for many years as you know.

“In order to qualify for a significant proportion of the funds which match about a third we need to be able to connect to the control room in Exeter by fibre optic cable, the original broadband connection is not acceptable to the control room because of its unreliability.

“All that has conspired against us, and, for the moment, as a result there is no way I can address all those issues in 31 days.

“It’s going to have to be shelved for the time being.

“That being said we do have a system in the town, we do live in a very safe area.

“It’s been a cause of much wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

At its AGM on Tuesday, Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce noted that at a later date it would look into the possibility of helping fund CCTV.