MONITORING CCTV 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is a “necessity” to stop crime and keep residents safe, councillors have insisted.

At a meeting, Basildon Council’s cabinet discussed proposals to start monitoring CCTV cameras in council buildings and in public spaces in a bit to ensure residents feel safe.

Initial talks took place on Thursday night and will continue as the council considers several factors, including the costs of having someone monitor the cameras and installing more cameras across the borough.

Andrew Baggott, Basildon Council leader, said: “At the end of the day, a lot of the time residents tell me they don’t feel safe walking through the town centre at night.

“If something occurred and there was CCTV monitoring, it allows for a quicker response and greater protection.

“There is a fine line between privacy and safety, the thing with people’s privacy is that the main concern is when it’s unnecessarily intrusive, like spying in homes or drones in windows.

“If it’s a public space, we have the obligation to make sure people are safe, that’s just my view.”

The council’s current CCTV system is a combination of live monitoring and retrospective review Mr Baggott added: “Our aspiration is for CCTV cameras to do the job they are supposed to.

“One thing that hampers that is resources, we were approached some time ago by another organisation that has a facility and the ability to always monitor.

“Due to their location and our police boundaries, they suggested we have a joint operation and that set the wheels in motion for us to consider what could be possible.”

Basildon Council debated the plan on Thursday night, however much of the CCTV debate was restricted due to the financial implications of the discussion.

Some councillors have welcomed the idea of having more CCTV monitoring, especially in public areas.

Kerry Smith, independent councillor for Nethermayne, said: “CCTV in town centres is a necessity, I’m just surprised it’s taken Basildon so long to get here.

“With all the cuts made to police, they are no longer able to proactively patrol and are now mainly reacting to incidents.

“With CCTV on all the time it provides public reassurance, it aids police in identifying suspects more quickly and if you’re not doing anything wrong, it keeps you safe.”