Council chiefs have defended proposals to reduce the hours public space CCTV cameras in Hartlepool will be monitored as part of a £30,000 savings initiative.

Councillor Moss Boddy, Rossmere ward representative, said he has a “great deal of concern” over the proposal which is part of a wider £1.792million potential savings package being discussed for 2024/25.

Hartlepool Borough Council currently provides public space CCTV which is delivered and monitored from a centre 24/7, 365 days a year.

However under the £30,000 savings proposal, while cameras would remain recording at all times, the time the centre is staffed would be reduced to weekends, bank holidays and between 5pm and 9am on weekdays.

Tony Hanson, executive director of development, neighbourhoods and regulatory services, said the council, like others, is facing “significant financial challenges.”

He added: “What we’ve tried to do is try and balance between what we think is deliverable, but also giving some element of saving back to the council.

“It’s not ideal, it’s not one that we would want to present, but unfortunately that’s the position that we’re in.”

However Labour’s Cllr Boddy, speaking at the latest meeting of the neighbourhoods services committee, said: “This causes me a great deal of concern.

“For £30,000 I think the safety of one child, or one elderly person, is worth someone watching a camera, or cameras.

“I think these savings are petty and I think the overriding damage that the savings might do far, far outweighs the worth of making them.”

The meeting heard the council has found it “hard to recruit” for the monitoring positions in the past, with the service currently having one local authority employee along with four agency staff, meaning no posts would be impacted.

Officers stressed all recorded footage will remain stored for at least 28 days and can be viewed by police where necessary.

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Labour’s councillor Carole Thompson acknowledged while ideally she would like to see a larger team of “10 or 15” people monitoring the cameras, given the resource issues faced, she supported the saving.

She added: “One chap sat in front of god knows how many cameras during the day, I cannot see how that can be in any way beneficial.”

The comments on the proposals will be fed back to the finance and policy committee when they meet in the new year ahead of final budget decisions being made.