The global financial climate in recent years has seen budgets stretched and it is no surprise that CCTV control rooms are among those scrambling to achieve results through reduced spending.
The survey of control rooms in the UK and abroad from icomply found that 48% of respondents had seen their control rooms embark on cost-saving exercises in the last year.
Of the measures taken to cut costs due to the decreasing budgets; six in ten of the control rooms had been forced to reduce maintenance costs across their network.
Some 39% had experienced redundancies in order to cut costs, while 32% had seen staff hours actively reduced. In addition, 17% had taken the decision to slash the number of CCTV cameras on its network.
The figures show the under-pressure budgets of control rooms have seen many forced to undertake a combination of cost-cutting measures, which could leave them subjected to a decline in both staffing levels and equipment quality.
Despite the pressure to cut costs, the industry is confident CCTV remains a vital tool in aiding the police and a key preventative measure to help cut crime.
Some 89% of respondents said they strongly agreed or agreed that CCTV is ‘very effective’ in capturing crime and 87% stated their belief that cameras act as a ‘strong deterrent’ for crime.
However, despite Government spending cut by £11 billion in 2011-12 compared to 2010-11, 92% claimed they saw more Government funding as crucial to improving national CCTV networks in the future.
Hugh Barker, the Managing Director of icomply, found the somewhat bleak results of the survey unsurprising. “We’re in the UK’s longest and deepest post-war recession, and the UK economy has been shrinking since 2011. It’s not surprising that so almost half of control rooms have taken cost-cutting measures to combat reduced budgets.
“However, our survey found that 26% of control rooms actually saw small increases in budgets for the financial year 2012-13. We also found that public space control rooms were developing ‘spending to save’ projects in the form of outsourcing other departments and companies. 58% either planned to or currently employed these revenue generation methods.
A recent Freedom of Information request by Labour MP Gloria de Piero published in the Independent showed that one in five councils have seen a cut in CCTV cameras since 2010.
“We can only hope that public space CCTV will continue to adapt to budget cuts, for the sake of public safety if nothing else,” stated Barker.
Visit icomply’s website to view the infographics produced from the result of surveys on public space CCTV cuts.