Switch-off of speed cameras left Northamptonshire County Council among smallest spenders on CCTV

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Switching off speed cameras in Northamptonshire put the county council among the top savers in the country for cash spent on cameras that track the public, a report suggests.

Big Brother Watch asked all local authorities how much they spent on cameras, including town CCTV and traffic cameras, in the period between 2009 and 2011 compared with the period 2012 to 2015.

It showed that Northamptonshire’s spending in the second period was down by 95 per cent. It had been spending an average of more than £380,000 a year and was now spending an average of less than £18,000.

A spokesman for the county council said its budget used to be much higher as it was paying for fixed speed cameras, which were managed by the casualty reduction partnership. However, these were turned off in April 2011.

The council’s much smaller cameras budget is now spent on monitoring certain problem junctions across the county, he said.

The 95 per cent drop in spending was the tenth biggest fall percentage-wise. Several councils cut their funding to zero.

Big Brother Watch found that most local authorities have substantially cut spending on their CCTV systems over the past three years.

Between 2012 and 2015, local authorities reduced the number of public-facing cameras by 12.5 per cent and reduced spending by 46.6 per cent.

A spokesman for Big Brother Watch said: “While encouraging, these figures are a snapshot of spending during a period of austerity. New surveillance technologies are fast approaching, and councils may be looking to update their ageing systems over the next few years.”