CCTV coverage in Swindon is not sufficient to cope with a terrorist attack in the town centre.

That is the conclusion of research into the borough’s fragmented CCTV system, which will be debated by Swindon Council’s cabinet members this week.

The research, carried out by Perpetuity International on behalf of Swindon’s Community Safety Partnership, focuses on the town centre, where cameras are not constantly monitored, as an area of particular concern.

The report stated: “The town centre systems that exist are not currently monitored 24/7. There is no proactive CCTV cover at peak times.

“Similarly, if a major incident occurred in the town centre, co-ordination of the existing systems to monitor the incident and response is likely to be difficult.

“Swindon’s CCTV system lacks co-ordination and is not fit for the future.”

Part of the problem is the fact that there are currently three control rooms monitoring the key CCTV and response systems across Swindon. The research recommends developing a single control room, staffed around the clock, bringing together the key cameras from a range of systems.

The approach is also criticised for not being cost-effective and another recommendation is to offer private organisations the chance to pay for 24/7 coverage as part of the central control room.

Chief Supt Paul Howlett, the chair of the Community Safety Partnership, said: “My view is that CCTV is an important tool in tackling crime, whether that be public disorder or something as serious as a terrorist incident.

“Unfortunately everyone in this country is facing a possible threat from international terrorism and we do need to be prepared.

“The proposal of a central control room would also give us an exciting opportunity to use other tools in the reduction of crime, including automatic number plate recognition.

“We have great ambitions for the town centre and it would seem odd that if it worked in other towns we could not use this tool in Swindon.

“This is not about Big Brother; this is about the harsh realities of being prepared.”

Coun Colin Lovell (Con, Moredon), cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, stressed that the council was only responsible for a portion of the CCTV across Swindon.

He said: “Our responsibility is for looking after our own properties, principally our housing stock.

“This is a very positive direction and I think people will be supportive of it. You can ask why it wasn’t done a long time ago, but this is one of a number of things that we are now getting round to.

“CCTV is not a panacea to all of the crimes in Swindon – it is one element of a number of ways or measures to reduce crime.

“The important thing is that we are recognising that things need to be improved and we are working towards doing that.”

The issue will be debated at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening at the Civic Offices.