A council cabinet member has rejected calls for him to resign after admitting he did not realise CCTV was his responsibility.
The revelation from Cllr Adrian Gulvin (Con) comes after Medway Council had been heavily criticised for its CCTV operation in recent months, with a recent survey identifying more than half of its cameras in public spaces were not fully operational.
He said he was not told the provision was included in his role as portfolio holder for resources, and only discovered the reality after a “considerable amount of research” by officers.
Cllr Gulvin told councillors last night: “I had assumed that it was part of front line services, and when the problem was highlighted I went to see Cllr Phil Filmer.
“He told me ‘it’s not in my portfolio – I wish you the best of luck with it’.
"It wasn’t until two months ago it was established in writing that the CCTV fell within the portfolio holder for community safety, which is me.”
Although the trading company responsible for maintenance and repairs, Medway Commercial Group (MCG), which is owned by the council, has been under fire from some councillors , Cllr Gulvin said the council had to “take 95% of the blame”.
He added: “I think the residents of Medway are owed an apology because they haven’t, as far as CCTV is concerned, enjoyed the high standard of service which the council prides itself on.”
The portfolio holder told scrutiny committee members that replacement equipment will be discussed by cabinet later this month, but his comments did little to prevent calls for his resignation.
Cllr Andy Stamp (Lab) said: “I’m shocked and astounded that you didn’t know, as portfolio holder who took over from Cllr Andrew Mackness, that you didn’t know CCTV was in your remit.
“That is a damning indictment of the Conservative administration in Medway. This is an abject failure, and you have let down the people of Medway.
“You have let down council taxpayers and you should consider your position.”
Cllr Tristan Osborne (Lab) added: “Most reasonable people in a professional capacity would see what has happened as a scandal and would accept they are responsible for that.”
Cllr Gulvin was firm in his response, suggesting a poster at Medway Council’s HQ which outlines each portfolio holder’s responsibilities does not list CCTV as one of his areas.
He responded to his critics: “This time next year when I’m sat here, if the situation is not put right then you will have absolutely the right to demand I go and I would accept that.
“But until I’ve had the opportunity to sort this out, I think it’s only fair I stay and I do my utmost which I’m doing to get this better.”
The Walderslade representative got some support from his Conservative colleagues, with Cllr Gloria Opara adding: “It’s actually quite noble of you to admit to what you’ve just said. I believe there will be lessons learnt.”