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Scrutiny Focus on Cameras

(November 05, 2012)
 SHOCKING levels of poor scrutiny were on display at a finance meeting of Warminster Town Council this evening when councillors agreed to spend £50,000 on something but weren't quite sure what it was or what it would cost to maintain.
  The five-figure sum will go on the capital cost of upgrading the town's CCTV system which is creaking with age. When asked whether the cameras were digital, the town clerk didn't know.
 The town council had demoted the CCTV committee to the role of a working group and this was the first chance for its Finance and Resources committee to take charge.
 When asked how much the system would cost to maintain after the first year, the town clerk again didn't know.
 The answer is that the new system will be entirely digital - if it isn't it really isn't worth having.
 "Quite how it has come about that a minor local authority or parish council is responsible for CCTV systems is beyond me," said VFWs Steve Dancey.
 "These are highly technical systems that are expensive and should be the province of Wiltshire Council which should have the expertise and buying power to get the best deal - and deal with the potential legal ramifications of having such a system which I very much doubt our Councillors are even aware of.
 "I'm still to be convinced on the efficacy of CCTV as a crime fighting tool.
 "Despite having attended many many trials at courts over the years I still can't remember when production of CCTV evidence material has played a crucial part in securing a conviction."
 The Warminster CCTV has been useful in dealing with the very minor almost daily incidents of crimes like shoplifting. Its minutes when it was a fully fledged committee show that it has been waiting for a long time for the modernisation go-ahead.
 Its team recently received an award at a ceremony in Devizes recognising its work.
Flag Pole

 Councillors also agree to spend £1,000 for a flag pole at 'Tirana House' (they call it the Civic Centre) - we already have enough of these things at The Minster, St Laurence and at the war memorial.
 "I'm as patriotic as the next person but surely they realise that the gaudy display of national flags is something associated with the continentals and is decidedly un-British?," said Steve. 
 "Until Gordon Brown messed about with the regulations there were only 8 days when official buildings were supposed to fly the union flag - not that the people who run the town council would have been aware of such niceties.

Sound System

 There was a shed-load of money for the Civic Centre sound system as people have been complaining about the building's acoustics also set aside.
 They were warned about this before they wasted our million pounds on this 1960s shack - but of course chose not to listen to

 "We stand by our view that the mega-loan spending on this building is a costly mistake," adds Paul Macdonald.

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