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Warminster Town Council: Delivering a brighter, greener future for all

Warminster and Westbury CCTV

Warminster and Westbury CCTV partnership is overseen by a working group of representatives from Warminster Town Council, Westbury Town Council, Wiltshire Council, the Army, Wiltshire Police, West Wilts Trading Estate and local businesses. Its success is built on special relationships between these partners to deliver a service to the community.

Annual report

Following a comprehensive and significant upgrade to CCTV systems across Warminster and Westbury in April 2023 – upgraded cameras provide high-definition images and has made a major step in tacking crime and anti-social behavior.

The new cameras have enhanced night vision infra-red and have a longer range and wider coverage than the 20-year-old ones they have replaced. There are over 40 cameras monitored across both towns. 

Thanks to continuous advancements in surveillance technology and the commitment of a dedicated CCTV team the enhancements have increased the safety and security of Warminster and Westbury.

Over the course of 2023 – 2024, the CCTV system has recorded a total of 2,034 incidents. This figure encompasses a wide range of events, demonstrating the CCTV teams versatility and effectiveness in capturing and documenting situations.

The CCTV system has proven to be a crucial asset in identifying and addressing various incidents. The surveillance coverage has also played a pivotal role in post-incident investigations.

Notably, Shop Watch Radio system has played a key role in curbing shoplifting incidents, with a total of 141 cases reported. This swift and collaborative approach among retailers has not only acted as a deterrent but has also facilitated a more coordinated response to address incidents in real time.

Furthermore, collaboration with the police has resulted in 94 incidents being addressed through police radio communication. This seamless integration with the police has enabled swift and decisive action, reinforcing our commitment to working hand-in-hand with the police to maintain public safety.

Notable Successes

Escaped Prisoner

In a joint effort with the police, our CCTV system played a pivotal role in tracking an escaped prisoner. The system’s ability to provide clear and detailed footage along with our dedicated and experienced CCTV operatives assisted the police in swiftly locating and apprehending the individual, ensuring that he was returned to custody without further harm to the community.

Sports Direct Recovery

Our CCTV team played a crucial role in the successful recovery of over £1,500 in a case involving Sports Direct. The system’s meticulous monitoring and recording capabilities provided irrefutable evidence, aiding both the internal investigation and police efforts. This accomplishment underscores the financial impact and deterrent effect our surveillance infrastructure has on criminal activities within the towns.

The Warminster and Westbury CCTV partnership remains dedicated to refining and improving CCTV to meet the evolving challenges of today’s world. As well as expressing gratitude to all stakeholders for their continued support in making our community a safer place.

A Warminster and Westbury CCTV spokesperson, said:

This year has seen remarkable progress in enhancing the safety and security of Warminster and Westbury, thanks to the continuous advancements in our surveillance technology and the unwavering commitment of our dedicated CCTV team.

The CCTV system has proven to be a crucial asset in identifying and addressing various incidents. The comprehensive surveillance coverage has not only provided real-time monitoring but has also played a pivotal role in post-incident investigations.”

The CCTV team has 11 members of staff which is made up of 8 volunteers and three full time members.

The CCTV team is made up of both paid staff and volunteers. The CCTV team are always looking for additional volunteers, who have good working computer knowledge. If you feel you could spare around 4 hours on a regular basis to help keep our community safe, contact Warminster Town Council for more info. Training will be provided. Contact Warminster Town Council 01985 214847 or email:

CCTV: An insight


Ever wondered what it’s like to be a CCTV operator? Successful CCTV Operators are mindful, alert, and scrupulous individuals who are highly dedicated to protecting others. They have the ability to quickly identify patterns and abnormalities. They work calmly and methodically in often fast-moving situations. 

What does a CCTV operator do on an average day?  A standard shift might cover scanning screens for: missing persons, anti-social behaviour, road traffic accidents, shoplifting, drunk and disorderly conduct, assaults, drug abuse, domestic violence, drink driving, dangerous driving, or movement of drugs through the area.

No shift is ever the same and incidents do not occur in the same place or time. The operator must observe all the monitors and look for things that do not appear right. On finding one of these, the operator takes a closer look to decide if there is anything untoward. When an incident is found the operator will then inform the police who will allocate an officer to the incident. The operator will continue observing the area and keep the police informed of anything happening at the scene and if the perpetrators leave the scene, which direction they go in. If the police attend, an operator keeps on watching, protecting any officers who may be on the scene.

The police often contact the CCTV control room for help with incidents, for example, tracking a vehicle.

Businesses that are part of the local Shopwatch scheme will contact the control room to report shoplifting.  The operator will then alert all others on the Shopwatch network as to what is happening.  Similarly, door staff and Pubwatch members keep in contact with the CCTV control room and the Police, all working together to make our area safer.

Often people forget that CCTV is there or ignore it, but the presence of cameras means individuals may be caught on camera for possible legal proceedings. It is hard to argue in court that it wasn’t you when the footage shows it was.   When incidents are occurring, often a second operator will be working, as multiple cameras may need to be watched and moved, the radios need answering, and possibly the phone as well.

The observation side of the control room is only one part of the operation. Police ask for footage of events. This requires a proper process and procedure to be followed and so good record keeping is another part of a CCTV operator’s skill set.   Following a police request, the operator will review the camera footage, using times, dates and location to find the incident. Relevant footage can then be safely and securely passed to the Police.

Warminster and Westbury CCTV have covered every possible crime and has had great success with bringing some nasty incidents to court. 

CCTV: The history

The original idea for installing a CCTV system in Warminster stemmed from a Government initiative in 1996 which encouraged town centres to install systems and offered partial funding from the Home Office to tackle anti-social behaviour. 

A bid to the Home Office was submitted and supported by the police who had the necessary crime statistics which highlighted the need for a system. The cost of installation was £135,000 for nine external cameras. In addition they needed poles and brackets to support them, internal video recorders, monitoring desks, printers and telephone lines. 

Warminster Town Council received £67,000 from the Home Office towards the costs. 

In 1999 the first CCTV supervisor was appointed. George Witts stayed in post until his untimely death in 2005. The equipment had not yet been installed, but George had the task of putting together the first operations’ manuals, codes of conduct and advertised for volunteers. Historically volunteers have played a great part in the running of CCTV operations, but over the last few years we have changed considerably the work that is required on a day-to-day basis and the volunteers are now highly trained to deal with all aspects of monitoring and auditing. We are always grateful to those that volunteer and in addition we have paid monitoring staff who cover a wide variety of shifts. 

In 1999 a second initiative followed the success of the first Home Office campaign with more funding for car parks which were suffering from anti-social behaviour. Warminster Town Council was successful with another bid and three additional cameras went into the town. The next area to be tackled was the Park. New lighting was needed as well as cameras and the old West Wilts District Council paid for this and continued to pay for the line rental on the installed camera. Wiltshire Council now pays this rental.

In 2003/2004 a new camera was installed in Emwell Street which meant that all entrances into the town centre were now covered. 

Westbury Town Council decided that they too would like a system installed, and when they investigated the costs it was found to be cheaper for them to purchase their own equipment but have it installed into Warminster Town Council’s control room. They make a financial contribution for the running of their equipment. We also monitor the entrance cameras for the West Wilts Trading Estate. 

There is no doubt that we accept CCTV as part of our daily lives. There is an expectation that to make us feel safe we need the security of cameras. We have to ensure that we observe codes of practice to operate the scheme in line with good ethical practice and that it is not open to the abuse of individuals’ civil rights and privacy. The primary objective of the scheme is to provide a safer town centre environment for the general public and reduce the fear of crime. CCTV is about prevention, deterrence and detection of crime whilst at the same time safeguarding the privacy of law-abiding individuals. It shall not be used to invade the privacy of any such individual in residential business or other private premises, buildings or land. 

To build on the system we have, the future is digital and wireless. We have already converted the management of our main system to digital and a new wireless camera has been installed at Portway. This is supported by new equipment in our control room. Four new wireless cameras have also been installed in the Three Horseshoes Walk for the current owners, Stockland. Warminster Town Council monitors and manages these additional cameras.

In 2014, the CCTV team received well-deserved recognition for their work across Warminster and Westbury at the PCC Neighbourhood Policing Awards. They were presented with a runner-up award for Volunteer of the Year 2014, beating a large number of organisations from across the local area. It was noted that the CCTV team “provide a professional day to day operation as well as supporting the big events in the area. Warminster and Westbury Town Councils could not provide this excellent CCTV operation without its dedicated team of volunteers.”

CCTV Code of Practice

Please follow the link to Warminster Town Council’s CCTV Code of Practice.

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