Thursday, January 16, 2014

CCTV schemes face budget realities

Citywide CCTV schemes often are started with great fanfare and media hype. Today, whilst preparing for work, I had the news on blaring the announcement of a major west coast LE agency testing body worn video.

But, as this article illustrates, once the news cameras are gone and the realities of maintaing the service set in, cuts are made.

There seems to be no limit to grant funds and special allocations to purchase gear to solve particular problems. The initial group of operators get trained. A few media-worthy events are highlighted, proving the worth of the scheme.

But, what about 3 years later? What happens when the service contract expires? What happens when new employees need training? What happens when …

Politicians love soundbites and headlines. They'll get the ribbon-cut they need in order to get re-elected, or elected to a different office. Yet, the real work begins long before the cameras show up. The real work begins at the planning stage.

Maintenance budget? Training budget? Storage budget? FOIA budget? Staff budget? Then, say five years later, when the gear is obsolete, you'll need to replace it all and start over.

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