This is how much Sheffield City Council spent on CCTV to watch over the city last year 

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Sheffield Council is one of a number of authorities facing criticism from civil liberty campaigners over the amount they spend on CCTV cameras.

Figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government showed Sheffield City Council spent £680, 000 on cameras last year. 

A generic picture of a CCTV camera.

A generic picture of a CCTV camera.

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The authority uses the cameras to monitor traffic and watch over public spaces for safety purposes.

But campaign groups have criticised their use and said too much is being spent on them nationally after figures showed UK councils spent £78 million on CCTV in the financial year 2017/18.

Luke Bosdet, of the AA's motoring policy unit, warned councils are becoming increasingly dependent on the cash made from issuing fines to drivers caught out by cameras.

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He added: "Councils are making shed loads of money out of cameras and they are not re-investing it to make roads safer.”

Silkie Carlo, director of civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said: “Research consistently shows that public cameras are ineffective at deterring, preventing or even solving crime, but that too much CCTV does curb citizens’ freedom.

“Surveillance is no substitute for policing, and this will prove to be a terrible waste of money.”

The Local Government Association had defended council spending on cameras.

The LGA's Simon Blackburn said: "CCTV plays a vital role in protecting the public by dissuading crime and antisocial behaviour, assisting police officers on the ground and supporting prosecutions for offences ranging from fly-tipping and traffic violations to acts of theft, robbery and serious violence.

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“CCTV also reduces costs to the public purse as anyone caught committing an offence on camera is likely to plead guilty, saving time on trials."

While the data put Sheffield's spending on cameras at £680, 000 last year, it has significantly dropped to £222, 000 this year.

Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for transport and development, said: “We have CCTV cameras around the city for prevention and detection of crime and to monitor known congestion spots that affect busy bus routes.

“We use the system to keep our city as safe as possible and to ensure our public transport system is effective and efficient.

Penalty charge notices apply in bus lanes only.

“All of the income generated from these notices goes straight back into the transport and highways budget which is used to maintain roads and improve road safety.”