Councils are scaling back on the use of CCTV cameras in an attempt to cut costs, a surveillance watchdog has warned.
Tony Porter, the surveillance camera commissioner, said he was concerned about local authorities cutting back on monitoring cameras because it could make it more difficult for police to detect and investigate crime.
He added that town halls could face greater scrutiny of their use of CCTV, including potential inspections and enforcement.
Mr Porter, who is due to give the findings of a review into standards to the Home Secretary this autumn, has written to council chief executives to remind them of the law and code of practice.
He told the Independent: "There are an increasing number of examples where councils and employees are citing a lack of money as being the rationale to reduce the service or completely change its composition - and that does concern me. Because CCTV isn't a statutory function, it is something a lot of councils are looking at.
"Most people recognise the utility of CCTV for supporting law enforcement. To degrade the capacity may have an impact on police. It may well be that they will find it increasingly difficult to acquire the images that will help them investigate crimes."