THE leader of Westhoughton Town Council has defended its CCTV procedures ahead of a public debate.

Monitoring of council CCTV cameras and reporting of faults will be discussed by town councillors at a council meeting on Monday.

A review — ordered by council leader Cllr David Chadwick — is being carried out with police and the CCTV control centre run by Emerson in Middlebrook.

Cllr Chadwick said he feels the current system works and that the economic climate would make it “impractical” for Bolton Council to justify taking on the burden.

The issue was thrust into the limelight when The Bolton News reported how four of the town’s seven public cameras in Market Street were not working at the time of an armed robbery.

The town council said the failure to address the faults resulted from delays caused by the festive season and “high winds”, which meant engineers did not feel safe to use a cherry picker.

Westhoughton Town Council has been responsible for the upkeep of street security cameras since they were introduced in the 1990s.

The existing process is for faults to be reported by Emerson to Christine Morris, Westhoughton Town Council’s town clerk.

The town council must then determine the cause of the fault, commonly electrical faults or damage to fibre optic cables, before ordering any repairs or replacements.

Cllr Chadwick, who ordered the review to ensure no issues with town council policy to CCTV have been overlooked, said: “You can’t guarantee that the cameras are going to be working all the time.

“Usually we make a fairly quick decision when faults are reported on whether we are going to repair or replace them or not.”

He restated his pride in the town council’s achievements.

Cllr Chadwick added: “The town council has always received funding from central government to monitor and replace CCTV cameras.

“I’m proud of the fact that the town council makes our town a lot better in a number of ways. The community events that bring people together are organised by the town council and we help support the poorest members of the community by awarding grants to charities.”

Town councillor Phil Ashcroft, for White Horse, requested a debate on the issue at the end of the last full council meeting on January 27.

Since Cllr Chadwick started his review of the cameras, the town council has started to look into raising one camera in Westhoughton, which has become partially blocked by signs.

The debate starts at 7pm on February 24 at Westhoughton Town Hall.