Community leaders in Leslie are in a tug of war with police over the ownership and future use of crime prevention cameras in the town.
Members of Leslie Community Council have voted unanimously to reject Police Scotland’s request to have the Domehawk CCTV cameras signed over in return for a maintenance agreement.
Council members have kicked out the request because they fear reverting control over to Police Scotland could result in the vital crime prevention equipment being used elsewhere in the region.
“The cameras were bought specifically to assist with the prevention and detection of crime in Leslie and, with the loss of control and their possible move outwith Leslie, this would not fulfil the original aims of the purchase,” explained Jan Wincott, community council chairman.
“Since we purchased the cameras using grants from the Skene Trust Fund, which is only for the benefit of the people of Leslie, we feel that this would not be compatible with their funding,” she added.
Inspector Derek Paxton confirmed that all Fife Council controlled cameras automatically referred to Police Scotland following the transition from Fife Constabulary.
“These cameras are unique to other areas in the fact that the community own them, we appreciate their concerns and are seeking a solution so that these cameras can be retained in the town,” he explained.
Mrs Wincott said their decision was in no way critical of the local police, who she said, have an excellent reputation for community policing.
“It is disappointing that the change from working with Fife Constabulary to Police Scotland has led to this apparent centralisation of control of these cameras,” said Mrs Wincott.
“If money is needed to maintain these cameras then we are happy to try to work with Police Scotland to look at ways of raising this funding.”
The state-of-the-art Domehawk CCTV cameras were installed in various positions in Leslie in May 2013 after being purchased as part of a three-way initiative between Leslie Community Council, the police and the Skene Charitable Trust.
One of the cameras is positioned at Greenside close to where Leslie man Stephen McCann was tragically killed in a hit-and-run accident in January 2012.
Since the formation of Police Scotland in April 2013 and the recent change in CCTV policy, the question now is who pays for the maintenance of the cameras.
“Like everything, these cameras have a shelf life and need maintaining, that’s what we need to agree going forward,” said Inspector Paxton.