POLICE chiefs have spoken about the importance of Ryedale’s CCTV network amid concerns for its future.
The network which has been running for 15 years serves Malton, Norton, Pickering and Kirkbymoorside and is controlled at Malton Police Station.
It costs £32,000 a year to run.
But staffing cutbacks at North Yorkshire Police mean the CCTV cameras are no longer monitored full-time on Friday and Saturday nights.
“We are the only police station in North Yorkshire that has CCTV cameras,” said Inspector Andy Everitt, the commander of Ryedale’s Safer Neighbourhood Team. “Most of the others have taken them into district councils. We don’t have the staff or resources to man it but it is a key tool for us and what we do.”
It has emerged that the force are in talks with Ryedale District Council about moving the network into Ryedale House, Malton, and using staff from Ryecare to monitor the cameras at key times.
Police in Scarborough currently have a similar agreement with Scarborough Coastal Care.
A feasibility study is now being carried out to look into the move, its initial costings and the need to vet people who will be looking at sometimes legally-sensitive images.
Funding will come from town councils while Ryedale Cameras in Action, the charity which manages the network, is looking to apply for funding from Ryedale District Council’s Community Investment Fund.
Insp Everitt told Malton Town Council that CCTV cameras are a “key” part of their resources and are used to detect crime, monitor flood levels and any traffic issues as well as truancy.
It had also been used to help track down a suicidal man who was helped and is now recovering.
“Sometimes you can’t put a value on the value of CCTV,” he added.