CCTV cameras across North Ayrshire were out of service nine times over the last month. 

A councillor raised the concern about cameras being out of action after he was told that a man had been walking in a street with his trousers pulled down around his ankles. 

Councillor Ronnie McNicol pointed out  there seemed to be no CCTV footage of the man who was seen in the shopping area of Dockhead Street in Saltcoats between 2pm to 3pm on August 26. 

Speaking at the full council meeting this week, he asked when and what cameras were not working in the past 30 days. 

Councillor Jim Montgomerie said nine camera faults were responded to within 12 hours with work carried out to fix them.

Holding back on releasing further details he said: “Publicly disclosing the exact location of cameras that are out of service at any time could encourage criminal or anti-social behaviour as our CCTV cameras act as a deterrent even when they are not operational for a period of time.”

Hitting back, Councillor McNicol replied: “All I’m asking is which cameras are not working in North Ayrshire.”

He asked Councillor Montgomerie  to explain why the Dockhead Street incident was not seen on CCTV despite a camera being installed at the top of the road.  He told the meeting police have received no report of it. 

Councillor Jim Montgomerie said he couldn’t comment on the case as he didn’t “know anything about it.”

He said: “Camera usage has increased by 36 per cent in the last 12 months. Police Scotland have formally noted their thanks for the improvement in the service and coverage produced by this very council.”

Speaking earlier in the meeting, he said: “North Ayrshire Council currently operates 143 public space CCTV cameras and works closely with Police Scotland to prevent incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour and intervene early when they occur.”North Ayrshire Council has employed surveillance on three occasions over the past year in order to crack down on illegal behaviour marking an increase in the use of such measures.

Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000 (RIPSA), the Council can employ covert surveillance as part of its regulatory duties.

The Council’s use of surveillance is rare and, prior to 2018, the Council had used surveillance on only one occasion in the past five years.

, in February 2014.

Since October 2018, four authorisations for surveillance have been sought and three were granted. These have all been based on the prevention and detection of crime and included allegations of theft which led to criminal charges and convictions.

A spokesperson for North Ayrshire Council said: “We only use covert surveillance in very rare circumstances and when it is absolutely required, ensuring we follow all the proper procedures.

“In the majority of cases, our officers carry out their work without the need for surveillance – for example, our Trading Standards team focus on enforcement action to educate retailers which is a more effective use of resources.”