Fury as CCTV gets just a year’s funding
Town councillors have refused to commit to funding the CCTV system in Devizes for more than one year until they get more information.
Devizes Development Partnership had hoped the council would agree a three-year deal when the community and civic resources committee met last week.
But after a close vote, in which all of the majority Guardians except Jane Burton voted for the one-year deal while all Conservatives voted for three years, the committee decided to pay £18,000 for one more year and asked for more details about the way the system operates before extending payment.
Noel Woolrych, part-time manager of the system, said: “I was very disappointed. I really don’t know what information it is they want. The Guardians who voted against the three-year agreement have been invited to come and see the control room and the work that we do but they have not been.
“We will be writing to the council to ask exactly what it is that they want to know. We are a very transparent organisation that is heavily governed by national policy.”
He said unless the one year deal was extended to three it would be hard to recruit volunteers and plan for equipment to be replaced.
Town councillor Andy Geddes, who proposed the one-year deal, said: “The town council pays 90 per cent of the annual cost. We must have information on the way it is operated. Expenditure needs to be addressed before a decision is made on funds.”
The CCTV system opened in Devizes seven years ago and the town council pays £18,000 towards the running costs of £22,500. The rest comes from local traders.
Mr Woolrych said since the system was introduced, crime and anti-social behaviour in the town centre had gone down.
He said: “There used to be 17 to 20 plate glass windows broken a year, and now we are talking of one or two a year.
“Criminal damage has virtually stopped in the town centre and there’s very little anti-social behaviour.
“Everybody says CCTV is a brilliant idea and the public are overwhelmingly in support of it.”