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Westminster’s CCTV decision

Westminster City Council’s Cabinet has agreed to decommission its 75 CCTV cameras from September 1.

As the Conservative-led council points out, CCTV coverage is what is termed a non-statutory council service. This means that it is not legally required and is at the discretion of a council as to whether they provide it. The crime and disorder CCTV in Westminster is according to a report by Stuart Love, Executive Director of City Management and Communities, primarily used to provide reactive support for the police in securing arrests and prosecutions relating to crimes committed in sight of cameras.

The council makes the point that it set aside £1.7m in capital spending to upgrade the CCTV system, which is said to be ageing and at times unreliable. A switch-off can mean that money goes elsewhere. While there have been discussions with the police, business partners, MOPAC, the GLA and Government for a couple of years about the CCTV running costs, of up to £1m per year, the Home Office, past mayor Boris Johnson and others refused to give towards Westminster.

Nickie Aiken, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “Like many other local authorities around the country, our current view is that we are not able to continue to subsidise this non-statutory service when there are many other pressures on our budgets and where other partners are the main beneficiaries. We will keep talking and in the past week have had very constructive discussions with the Mayor, the Metropolitan Police and Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime. We want to work towards a pan-London solution that is right for the capital as criminals don’t stop at borough borders.”

For a digest of the background report to the council’s cabinet visit


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