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Opposition councillor says plans for CCTV upgrade 'vindicates' his actions

An opposition councillor claims he has been ‘vindicated’ after plans for a new CCTV system were announced last week.

Councillor Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green) said the council had been embarrassed into keeping the cameras on.

In February, Cllr Werner provided the Advertiser and Express with an email from the CCTV control room which listed a number of cameras that have been switched off since December 2016.

Cllr Carwyn Cox (Con, Hurley and Walthams), cabinet member for environmental services, had previously denied any had been switched off and council leader Simon Dudley (Con, Maidenhead Riverside) accused him of spreading ‘alternative facts’.

However an investigation found several had been turned off – and councillors had not been informed.

In July the council’s monitoring officer found Cllr Werner had breached the code of conduct with no right to appeal for sending the Advertiser and Express the email confirming  the cameras had been turned off.

Last week the council announced plans to spend more than £1.3m on upgrading cameras in the Royal Borough.

He said: “After the investigation shambles, they were embarrassed into keeping them on and found the extra money.

“They had to reverse savings in the CCTV budget and I feel quite vindicated over all the insults I’ve received over the last few months.”

Police made safety assurances after a number of serious incidents in Windsor recently, including two rapes and a fatal assault. There have also been two stabbings in Maidenhead.

Cllr Werner said he thinks the use of CCTV in the investigations into some of the crimes has also persuaded the council to keep the cameras on.

“If you've got clearly identified issues that could at least partly be solved then why wouldn't you put a new camera there?” he added. “But it’s really good news.”

Cllr Cox refused to address any specific instances of crime but assured that the process for replacing and positioning new cameras would take into the account the view of the police.

He said: “In most of the sites they will be sited in the same place or as close as possible. Additional ones – it’s too early to say and we’re still working on the specification process.”

He did not accept that the Lib Dems were the saviours of the CCTV system adding: “I have a good relationship with Cllr Werner and I’m sure he would say the same about me.

“But I always said there would be a full review.”

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