02:59PM, Thursday 09 February 2017
An independent investigation is set to be launched into why councillors were not informed that eight of the Royal Borough’s CCTV cameras were no longer in operation.
Last month, Cllr Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green) told the Advertiser it was a ‘done deal’ that 30 cameras would be scrapped as part of a review into the borough’s CCTV network.
Cllrs Carwyn Cox and council leader Simon Dudley discussed CCTV at a cabinet meeting on Thursday, January 26, and Cllr Cox told cabinet members no cameras had been switched off.
But last week Cllr Werner produced an email understood to be from the CCTV control room which lists a number of cameras that have been switched off since December.
Maidenhead cameras listed in the email include Shifford Crescent, Bray car park, Wessex Way, Grenfell Park and Riverside car park.
Managing director Alison Alexander offered her apology to Cllr Cox, cabinet member for environmental services, and Cllr Dudley in a statement on Thursday.
“Cllr Cox was absolutely accurate when he told cabinet last week that no cameras had been switched off as he had not been informed by officers that the digital connections had expired,” she said.
“As managing director I take responsibility that there has been a failure to inform the lead member and I can only apologise that he was put in the position of not having the correct information and being able to inform his cabinet colleagues, including the leader.
“This information was known to officers in the middle of December and they failed to inform members.
“There are eight cameras where the digital connection has expired and Cllr Cox and the leader have asked for them to be immediately reinstated as part of the ongoing review.”
In response, Cllr Werner said: “He was not correct. I accept that he probably was not told the facts but he was incorrect in what he said. But it was not his fault.
“That just shows they don’t know what is going on in the departments.
“Council officers were sitting there when Carwyn Cox was talking.
“If Carwyn Cox didn’t know, why did the council officers feel unable to say ‘that is wrong?
“I am concerned it is all to do with the bullying atmosphere which means that council officers are afraid to speak.”
Yesterday (Wednesday) Cllr Dudley said the council was ‘sourcing’ an organisation to begin the investigation and had ordered the cameras to be switched back on.
He said claims of a bullying atmosphere were ‘complete nonsense’ and his confidence in Alison Alexander had not been shaken by the issue.
“It is a very serious matter,” he said. “We take it very, very seriously.”
He wanted to wait for the outcome of the investigation before drawing conclusions but added: “What is absolutely clear is the lead member, other members of the council and myself had no idea these cameras were turned off.”
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