Cameras off at anti-social hotspots

CCTV cameras at anti-social behaviour hotspots in Amber Valley have had to be switched off after contractors went into receivership.

Chesterfield firm Advance Monitoring Solutions (AMS) went into liquidation this week. causing shutdowns at sites, including Belper.

The firm was in the process of renewing its contract with Amber Valley Community Safety Partnership when it went out of business.

The unexpected shutdowns come nine months after the partnership axed funding for the another six cameras they ran in the borough, including ones in Belper and Duffield, as part of a cost-cutting drive.

However, the 65 cameras operated by Amber Valley Borough council, providing coverage in and around Alfreton, Belper, Heanor and Ripley are not affected and continue to operate as normal.

Amber Valley Community

Safety Partnership (CSP) police officer Julie Hay said: “We want to first of all reassure people that extensive CCTV coverage continues to operate in Amber Valley as a result of the Amber

Valley Borough Council system. “It is not known if another CCTV company will be taking over from AMS.  This means that at the moment the CSP cameras are not live.

“We will, however, be looking at all options available within our financial constraints to get the six cameras recording again as soon as possible.”

The option of taking over the running costs for the six cameras scrapped last year have been offered to parish and town councils. Belper Town Council had to put on hold plans to approve funding for one of the cameras at its meeting last night.

It costs £950 to re-commision a camera and £500 a year in maintenance. However, a spokesman for the partnership said that “fortunately”no payment had been made by any party for the camera before the firm went into receivership.

Leader of Belper Town Council John Nelson said: “It’s a sign of the times. In this day and age companies have got to be so careful. Another camera would have been handy.”

AMS had previously monitored its cameras operating in places like Belper from its headquarters in Barlborough until July 2, when it stopped transmitting.

The devices are placed at locations based on police crime reduction information and intelligence.

The Belper News has agreed not to publish the exact locations in the interests of preventing crime.

The borough council’s Improvement and Scrutiny Committee is proposing turning four of the cameras not being funded by local councils, including the one in Duffield, into a dummy device - saving the authority around £4,000 a year.

The News contacted AMS this week but got no answer to our phone calls.