HEREFORDSHIRE councillors can’t be trusted with the output of the county’s network of CCTV cameras, an official has claimed.

Herefordshire Council’s “CCTV compliance manager” Debbie Turner was asked by Ledbury town council why councillors were not given access to images from the town’s surveillance cameras.

“Why do the councillors wish to see the footage?” she replied. “Is it as a result of a crime? Who investigates crime? The police. So a crime has taken place, I provide footage to a councillor who believes they recognise Joe Bloggs as the offender.

“That councillor then either goes on social media or tells someone who the ‘offender’ is, or even worse, tackles the ‘offender’ about their crime.”

Not only can this interfere with a crime investigation, but the councillor may have identified the wrong person, she said.

Local police “are the ones that, should they wish to share the images in the interest of the investigation, only they will”, she said.

She said that according to the Home Office’s official code of practice on surveillance cameras, sharing imagess “must be controlled and consistent with the system’s stated purpose”.

Her response is given in the agenda for Ledbury council’s environment and leisure committee meeting tonight (March 7), which will discuss expanding the CCTV in the town.

Herefordshire Council plans to install CCTV in Ledbury’s Recreation Ground and Bye Street, in addition to those it operates in Homend and High Street.

These are monitored by a specialist team employed by Herefordshire Council at the county’s CCTV control room in Hereford.