The Committee received a position statement on CCTV as contained within the circulated report.
Members raised a query in relation to Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) sites and questioned whether a levy could be placed on businesses to offset the cost to the Authority for providing CCTV coverage. Officers informed the Committee that CCTV coverage had not been offered to businesses to date and that companies such as TATA Steel already had CCTV arrangements in place. Officers stated that the Authority may be in a position to offer this service to external organisations in future, but it had not been standard practice previously to seek out business opportunities for the Council in relation to CCTV provision.
Members queried whether the mobile CCTV vehicle deployed by the Parking Department linked into the Control Room, and if so, whether there were any income generation opportunities with regard to providing footage to outside bodies and the Police. Officers stated that the vehicle in question was the responsibility of the Parking Department, and there had been no dialogue between the two sections in this regard. Officers informed the Committee that the camera enabled vehicle was independent from the CCTV Control Room, as the CCTV Department were only concerned with public safety cameras and not responsible for traffic enforcement issues.
Members queried whether it was possible to charge a fee for the footage shared with the Police. Officers explained that charging a fee for the footage shared with the Police had been explored but not progressed to date. Officers informed Members that requests from the police to review CCTV footage had declined in recent times.
Members questioned whether there were any plans to put any new CCTV cameras in place and queried what the criteria was. Officers stated that grant money was received initially in order to install CCTV cameras across the borough, but ongoing associated costs (e.g. maintenance and replacements were not provided on that same basis for this non-statutory service). Officers informed Members that an independent consultant was commissioned as part of the CCTV review resulting in the number of cameras being reduced from 100 to 50 to meet required necessity tests. Officers stated that the remaining cameras were mainly located in both town centre areas and on the Aberavon Seafront. Officers added that if any further cameras were requested that they would need to satisfy specific criteria before being approved along with identification of related funding to provide. Officers stated that there were 12 guiding principles to consider when installing CCTV cameras as outlined by the Surveillance Camera Commission.
Members queried what the process was for requesting a CCTV camera and what criteria would need to be satisfied. Officers stated that a necessity test would need to be undertaken first of all. Officers explained that data would need to be provided to develop a robust business case that demonstrated the need for a public space camera at a particular site Officers stated that further information would be circulated to the Committee in relation to the process and criteria.
Members queried what information were the Police entitled to access from the CCTV Control Room. Officers stated that the Police were entitled to view the footage captured by the CCTV cameras in relation to their enquiries.
Members questioned why the option to work regionally was never taken up. Officers stated that an option to work jointly was explored in depth with Bridgend County Borough Council and the City and County of Swansea, but unfortunately no agreement was reached .As part of an Income Generating project, alarm system monitoring for buildings such as schools in Neath Port Talbot which have been previously provided by external suppliers was being examined. Officers added that bringing that in house would also help to sustain the CCTV service.
Following scrutiny the Committee noted the report, and requested for an early draft of the report setting out the analysis and conclusions of the feasibility study to be brought back to the Committee for comment in early 2019.