SCOTTISH Borders Council is to zoom in on a consultation over the region’s failing CCTV network.

At a meeting of the full council on Wednesday councillors are being asked to approve a consultation with various stakeholders about the beleaguered camera systems.

Recently, officers revealed that the CCTV networks are “no longer fit for purpose”.

And they told councillors that neither the local authority, nor the police, can afford to install and maintain the cameras.

Currently, 19 of the council’s 70 CCTV cameras are not functional, but officers have also warned that the number of faulty cameras is likely to increase and some already have intermittent faults.

Officers originally requested that the council allows the CCTV network to fall into disrepair, and the report, authored by Scottish Borders Council’s director for assets and infrastructure, emphasises this point.

It states: “The council currently meets all ongoing revenue costs, including energy consumption, telecoms charges, consumable items and annual charges from the contractors who provide maintenance support for each system. Police Scotland does not make any financial contribution to the town centre schemes.

“The council’s current position with regard to CCTV provision is not to install new CCTV equipment or replace life-expired systems but to continue to maintain the current asset within the existing revenue budget until they are beyond economic repair.

“For information, previous work undertaken by officers in 2018 indicated that the likely total capital cost of replacement, on a like for like basis, while utilising more modern digital technologies, could be in the region of circa £600,000.

“There would be potentially additional costs associated with related civils works and infrastructure in the region of £250,000.

“A follow up report could update and validate this figure to present-day costs, however given the anticipated capital expenditure of circa £1m, plus a requirement for future on-going enhanced revenue expenditure, officers do not believe that this will provide value for money.

“In addition, there is currently no identified budget, either capital or revenue.”

However, a motion by opposition leader and Tweeddale East councillor Stuart Bell, which was backed by Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer, was passed at the last meeting which asked officers to investigate ways the CCTV network can be saved.

Now, officers are proposing the council consults with various stakeholders in the CCTV network, including Police Scotland, community councils and area partnerships, as well as providers of CCTV network systems and infrastructure to determine potential costs.

The consultation will then form the basis of a series of options for CCTV in the Borders which councillors will be asked to approve, most likely in December.

The report continues: “Following a recent motion that was agreed by council, an outline timetable has been defined which would allow a consultation plan to be implemented and a further additional CCTV report to be prepared for council if required.

“The additional report could outline options and costs associated with renewing or replacing the existing public space CCTV provision for each community which already has an existing CCTV system in place.

“Extension of the current town systems, adding additional town coverage or utilising alternative technologies, such as mobile CCTV solutions, will not be considered.

“Council Officers could undertake, based on a consistent specification, an element of ‘soft’ market testing from multiple suppliers in order to ascertain current pricing models in relation to both the required initial capital investment and consequential on-going revenue requirements, and which would also include the cost to remove any redundant systems.”

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 the report advises councillors that this will continue until the CCTV cameras are “beyond economic repair”.