Hartlepool neighbourhood watch group accuses council of trying to shut down CCTV scheme
A Hartlepool neighbourhood watch group claims the council is hampering its crime prevention efforts by taking action against its CCTV cameras.
West Park & District Neighbourhood Watch has 23 cameras paid for by residents which they say have been instrumental in driving down crime and helping the police.
But members have been issued with Community Protection Warnings telling them not to monitor public areas after Hartlepool Borough Council received public complaints.
The orders also warned them they could be taken to court if they did not stop.
But the group says it believes it has obtained all the necessary accreditation and certificates to operate CCTV and will seek legal advise.
A spokesman said: “All we’re trying to do is prevent and detect crime in our area and keep it at bay. We’re not using it for anything else.
"People said they felt a lot safer with the cameras up.
"We wanted to monitor a large area for people who can’t afford a camera so we could see the whole street.”
He said footage was only reviewed by two coordinators with Level 2 Security Industry Authority (SIA) accreditation and the scheme is certified by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
The spokesman added when they asked the council for details of complaints so they could address them, officials refused to say.
The cameras can currently only be trained on homeowners’ own properties.
The group spokesman said: “In this day and age your image is picked up thousands of times a day.
"Nothing was done with the images unless the police requested it.”
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesperson said: “This is an ongoing investigation so we are limited as to what we can say at this time.
“However, we can confirm we have taken action following the receipt of a number of complaints from Hartlepool residents who were concerned about being filmed and monitored by people in their community that they do not know.
“The action has been limited to ensure that no intrusive surveillance takes place of public areas, but it does not prevent individual homeowners from using CCTV cameras to monitor and protect their own property.”