Council aims to tackle backlog of broken library CCTV

Leeds Civic Hall.

By David Spereall, local democracy reporter

Broken CCTV has “severely compromised” public safety in libraries across Leeds, a security review has found.

Leeds City Council said cameras in several libraries and community hubs across the city were either in “disrepair, have outdated technology or are poorly functioning”.

The local authority said the issues have posed a risk to staff, members of the public and politicians – such as councillors – who hold regular surgeries in the venues.

As a result, £400,000 is being spent on upgrading security across these venues over the next two years, with the buildings most in need being prioritised first.

The problems were identified by a review the council carried out, which it said was made more pressing by the fact some of its sites are occasionally staffed by lone workers.

A decision notice detailing the upgrades on the council’s website said: “The recent cost-of-living crisis and Covid pandemic have significantly increased community tensions, which has resulted in an increase in the number of incidents taking pace across the city.

“This has prompted the service to conduct a comprehensive security review of community hubs and libraries, and it has become apparent that a significant number of the current CCTV systems in our 32 sites are either in a state of disrepair, have outdated technology or are poorly functioning.

“This means that both staff and customers’ safety whilst on site is severely compromised.”

A separate document detailing the upgrades said that while the cost of the works was “substantial”, they would reduce the potential for injury, “or worse still loss of life”.

“Incidents can happen anywhere and not just in areas where there is marked anti-social behaviour,” the paper added.

A spokesperson for the city council said that the improvements were originally due to be carried out before now, but that they’d been delayed by the pandemic.

They added that the work, “can now go ahead and will ensure by standardising our protocols and systems across all council venues our customers and officers can be assured of the highest levels of health and safety.”


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