CALLS are being made for Scottish Borders Council to reassess the region’s CCTV networks, following news it is being allowed to fall into disrepair.

Recently, council officers reported that the CCTV network is “no longer fit for purpose”.

And it was revealed that neither the local authority nor the police can afford to install and maintain the security systems.

Currently, 19 of the council’s 70 CCTV cameras don't work, and that number is likely to increase in the coming months and years.

Now, Tweeddale East councillor, Stuart Bell, has put forward a motion for the local authority’s next meeting, asking officers to produce a list of options for revitalising the failing CCTV network.

He said: “Effective public CCTV can make a positive contribution to community safety which is primarily the responsibility of the police but one in which the council has an obvious part to play.

“However, the capability of the system now operating in Border towns has deteriorated.

“Whilst there are limited budgeted council funds to invest in the current CCTV system, and whilst there will be advantages in opening up opportunities for communities to participate in the definition of what is needed, any decisions need to be based on a quantified assessment of costs.

“I ask officers to prepare a report showing the costs and options for renewing or replacing existing public CCTV for each community with a CCTV system; to make that information part of a consultation with area partnerships, community planning partners and the police, fire and rescue, and safer communities board, before bringing forward a final report for consideration by this council.

“Further to this that officers bring a report to the next Council meeting with a consultation plan, including whether outside resources will need to be brought in, the cost of consultation and a timescale for that consultation and final report to be brought to council.”

There are eight systems, all of which are operated by Police Scotland, in Duns, Eyemouth, Galashiels, Hawick, Kelso, Melrose, Peebles and Selkirk.

Scottish Borders Council is currently spending £40,000 a year repairing the systems, and officers have advised councillors that this will continue until the CCTV cameras are “beyond economic repair”.

Police Scotland have also confirmed that although they view the CCTV systems as a valuable resource, they will not be providing funding for their maintenance.

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer has thrown his weight behind the motion.

He said: “CCTV plays a vital role is helping prevent and solve crime and I find it completely incomprehensible that decisions that impact the safety, health and well-being of our communities can be taken without a full and complete assessment of the consequences.

“Only this week we have learned how CCTV has helped detected a serious crime in one Borders town.

“This motion follows a refusal of the council’s chief executive to allow the original report to be procedurally ‘called-in’ for scrutiny and I hope all councillors will support a logical attempt to have this serious issue matter democratically discussed by all elected councillors”

Scottish Borders Council is due to meet on Thursday in Kelso’s Tait Hall, to deliberate on the motion.