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Blow in fight to keep CCTV centre in Maidstone

CCTV stock
CCTV stock

Plans to move Maidstone's CCTV control to Medway have moved a step closer, despite strong protests that it will make the town centre less safe.

A report has recommended the move, subject to a consultation with police and other interested parties.

Medway Council wants to create a regional hub for CCTV monitoring and approached Maidstone to take on its monitoring earlier this year.

If the move goes ahead, staff would move to the new base of operations in Strood. The same cameras would be used. But critics are concerned that it will make the town less safe because of a loss of local knowledge.

Management at The Mall Chequers shopping centre, Maidstone, has also bid to monitor the cameras to keep the operation in the town.

Mall Chequers manager Paul Alcock told the council: "If this move to Medway happens, it will be the worst decision I have seen the council make in my 11 years running the biggest shopping centre in town.

"The CCTV in the town has increased public safety and public confidence throughout the borough."

The report to Maidstone council’s cabinet member for community services, Cllr John A Wilson (Con) said the move to Medway would be good value for money, as it included upkeep of the 116 fixed and 23 mobile cameras. It would also free up space on the current control centre site.

Cllr Wilson said: "We are considering joining the CCTV partnership both to save money and provide a more resilient service."

TCM has called an emergency board meeting for Monday. Cllr Wilson’s decision could be made today (Friday).

The Kent Messenger is campaigning to keep the control centre in Maidstone.

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