Published: 16:31, 25 October 2018
| Updated: 16:44, 25 October 2018
The company responsible for maintaining CCTV in Medway has responded to criticism in the wake of the revelation that the majority of the Towns' cameras weren't working.
Medway Commercial Group (MCG) is the trading arm of Medway Council and says the reason it is being blamed for the situation is there is a "general misunderstanding of the contractual relationship between [the organisations involved]" and also "incorrect interpretations of the contractual arrangements".
Medway Council owns the cameras, MCG maintain them and the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) oversees them and makes funding decisions.
The CSP, acting on reports from MCG's engineers about faulty and broken cameras, decide whether to replace or repair the cameras.
Head of MCG Ian Price said: "In this particular case, MCG had recommended the replacement of the faulty cameras in Twydall and Gillingham High Street as the existing network connections and hardware was no longer economical to maintain. MCG is able to confirm that it has now received the go ahead to replace these cameras."
He added that for the past two financial years, the multi-agency CSP reduced funding for CCTV in Medway which "unsurprisingly has had a negative impact upon the quality of the service MCG can provide."
A review of the CCTV infrastructure in Medway is currently taking place and Mr Piper is confident that MCG will continue to provide a service having "exceeded in its contractual obligations."
He said: "Medway has the largest suite of cameras we maintain, some of which have been in operation for over 20 years and while still effective, could be much improved with upgrades.
"It is often more sensible to replace the broken cameras with new ones that are compatible with Medway Council’s overarching Smart Cities agenda, which — if fully implemented — will deliver improved services."
MCG is also in charge of a new project to deliver a £25 million 'learning village' in Coenwallis Avenue, Gillingham, for children with behavioural issues.
But the perceived poor track record with CCTV and alleged axing of governor services has led to politicians in the council's Labour Group questioning its suitability for that project.
Mr Price rubbished concerns about the site and the funding arrangements saying the company was well prepared and "has an exemplary record in delivering large-scale projects on time and within budget."
He stressed governor services had not been axed and had instead been sub contracted to an experienced provider following "sensitive employment issues" which came about at the end of the summer term which resulted in staff who had previously provided this service leaving MCG and a senior member of the team being dismissed for misconduct.