MOST CCTV systems in Waltham Forest are defunct due to a lack of investment, it has emerged.

A cabinet report says the equipment used by police and the authority is “significantly past recommended life expectancy”.

The method of camera control and image recording is described as obsolete and soon to be beyond repair.

The report, which will be considered by cabinet next Tuesday (September 14) seeks approval for the “urgent” replacement of CCTV systems at a cost of £312,000.

A total of £135,000 will be needed from the council’s contingency fund to cover the cost.

Officers also request that rules are waivered to enable the extension of an existing monitoring contract with Enfield Council.

While many view the proliferation of CCTV as an attack on personal freedom, the report asserts that its primary objective is to catch and deter criminals while reducing residents’ fear of crime.

The revelation comes following a recent upsurge of violence in the borough, much of it suspected to be gang related.

There have been six non-fatal publicly reported stabbings alone in Leytonstone in the last two months, with at least six shootings in the borough this summer, including the murder of a 39-year-old in Chingford in July.

According to statistics published in July, cases of gun crime are up 14 per cent on last year, with robbery up 17 per cent.

Deputy Borough Commander Sue Williams said that a "core element" of youths in Waltham Forest, including many knife crime victims, were refusing to co-operate with police, leaving them no choice but to press ahead with prosecutions based solely on other types of evidence.

Earlier this year the council launched a campaign to urge the Metropolitan Police Authority to allocate at least 120 extra police officers to the borough.

But new borough commander chief Supt Steve Wisbey later said it was not his job to argue for more staff but to work with the resources he has.

The council recently refused to confirm whether a CCTV camera pointing directly at the scene of a non-fatal shooting on the Marlowe Road Estate in Walthamstow was working at the time.

Ascham Homes, which manages the estate on behalf of the authority and also manages CCTV systems, was criticised by residents who accused the organisation of failing to protect tenants.

At the time, resident Domenico Melito, 41, said: "Ascham Homes do not care and they are the reason people don't feel safe.

"They take no responsibility. We keep trying to get Ascham Homes to give us security but they don't listen.”

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