A UNION has accused Glasgow City Council of allowing police to monitor council CCTV cameras after trained staff were axed. 

We previously reported in early 2023 councillors approved the decision to reduce the number of staff monitoring cameras from 18 to nine and have the hours cameras were monitored reduced from 24 hours a day to 12 with the cuts being phased in from September last year.

The CCTV cameras still record 24 hours a day with the council saying they are left positioned on "priority locations" during the hours they are not monitored.

However, unions now fear the network of street cameras in Glasgow has been used by external staff to monitor several big events in the city during hours council staff are not present.

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GMB Scotland says the monitoring team have arrived at recent shifts to find the cameras have been monitored during times they were not meant to be, notably on Saturday, May 4 when an All Under One Banner independence march was tracked through the city and on Saturday, May 11 when football fans were watched before and after the Celtic v Rangers game at Celtic Park. 

Supporters were also monitored ahead of the cup final on Saturday, May 25.

John Slaven, GMB organiser at Glasgow City Council, says Police Scotland staff are most likely to have accessed the council network and is calling for Glasgow City Council bosses to explain why.

He also highlighted Security Industry Authority regulators are strict on who is allowed to access CCTV in public spaces and it is understood there are no written protocols for police to monitor these cameras as opposed to reviewing footage flagged by trained council staff.

READ NEXT: Police urged to intervene over CCTV cuts ahead of Celtic v Rangers match

Glasgow Times:

Mr Slaven said: "The council told us there was no need to monitor the cameras around the clock to justify these dangerous cuts.

"It makes little sense and the risks, particularly during major public events, were obvious but unnecessary.

"It is no surprise that Police Scotland seems to agree and are apparently using their staff to fill the specialist role previously filled by our members.

"As a matter of urgency, we are asking Glasgow City Council to explain exactly what is going on.

"Under what authority the police are monitoring the local authority’s cameras and why staff from the national force are now doing a job that the council insists is not necessary?

"The Chief Constable has told us repeatedly that there are not enough officers and too much of their costly time is wasted while they wait to give evidence in court, for example.

"Given that, it seems incomprehensible that officers would now be forced to do the work previously done by staff the council thought were expendable."

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: "Police Scotland officers do not monitor live public space CCTV cameras.

"They would only reposition cameras in the event of an emergency or high-risk situation if no council staff were present."

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "Police Scotland officers can access CCTV to conduct retrospective enquiries during the times when council staff are not on duty."

It is understood when council staff are off duty, police CCTV officers would only monitor live cameras if a high-risk incident occurred or if required for a major event. 

The Glasgow Times reported earlier this month that GMB Scotland was urging Police Scotland to intervene and help restore 24-hour CCTV monitoring across Glasgow.

It comes after city centre residents also raised concerns about the decision to leave cameras un-monitored for 12 hours a day, saying they feared the decision is "leaving a large gap in authorities’ ability to monitor and take action on crime".