Revealed: South Tyneside Council’s bill for watching you

Souh Tyneside Council  spent over �600,000 on CCTV cameras
Souh Tyneside Council spent over �600,000 on CCTV cameras

South Tyneside Council spent £617,000 on CCTV to keep watch over residents last year, according to official figures.

The spending has fallen by 0.3% since 2010, when the annual bill was £619,000.

The controversial  bus lane onto Leam Lane from Edinburgh Road

The controversial bus lane onto Leam Lane from Edinburgh Road

The council’s CCTV budget for the current financial year is £530,000

The AA has accused councils of making money from drivers caught by cameras and civil liberties campaigners say councils are spending millions spying on residents - despite cutting services in many other areas.

Luke Bosdet, of the AA’s motoring policy unit, said: “Councils are making shed loads of money out of cameras and they are not re-investing it to make roads safer.

“There are certain junctions that catch people by the thousand. If so many people are being caught it shows that the road layout needs to be improved.

“Normally law-abiding drivers are being caught but councils won’t do anything as they are pulling in the cash to prop up their other spending.”

One of the moat controvertial camera sites in South Tyneside is the Edinburgh Road “bus only” junction on the Scotch Estate, Jarrow.

Motorists were hit with fines totalling almost £800,000 in just one year.

Big Brother Watch director Silkie Carlo said: “Research consistently shows that public cameras are ineffective at deterring, preventing or even solving crime, but that too much CCTV does curb citizens’ freedom.

“Surveillance is no substitute for policing, and this will prove to be a terrible waste of money.”

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “With regards to enforcement cameras, restrictions are only ever put in place in the interests of road safety.

“Fines are only issued to drivers who fail to observe the rules of the road. We would remind motorists that by not observing any restrictions in place, they are not only committing an offence but also risking their own safety and the safety of others.

“The spend on CCTV includes not only cameras but also spend on a concierge service at blocks of flats, fire and intruder alarm monitoring and additional security at Metro stations.

“All these measures combined help to keep people safe in the borough.”

Across England, councils spent £78million on cameras in 2017-18. Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government figures show that it is one area of spending that has gone up nationally since 2010.

The highest spender last year was Leeds, with a CCTV cost of £4million. There were five other councils which spent more than £1million.