THE future of Salisbury’s CCTV system is under threat.

A review has been launched after the system was described as a huge financial burden by Wiltshire councillors amid calls for Salisbury to fund its own system, as other towns in the county do.

Speaking at a recent meeting, Wootton Bassett councillor Peter Doyle said the county should “right a wrong” by “placing Salisbury in the same position as other market towns”.

And the council admitted it wants a “sustainable and harmonised approach” to CCTV across the county – but there is no system of comparable size elsewhere in Wiltshire.

A spokesman said: “CCTV systems across Wiltshire are fragmented, uncoordinated and inconsistent. There needs to be a review.”

Salisbury’s network, based at Pennyfarthing House, costs £400,000 a year to run and needs investment to bring it up to date for the digital age.

But the city council has not been approached to take it over and says it could not afford to.

The system was set up by the old district council, which had more money and more powers.

A city spokesman said Salisbury can’t be compared with other towns in the county because it has an “all encompassing” system with several dozen cameras, a large number of TV screens and staff to keep an eye on them.

It also covers Wilton and Amesbury. And Wiltshire Cabinet member John Brady told the Journal that a lot of the city’s equipment was “no longer fit for purpose” and, without upgrading, would be of limited use.

News of the review has sparked concern in the city centre.

Pubwatch chairman Toby Moseley, who runs the New Inn, said: “We would be extremely sorry and rather put out if the council decided to erase CCTV.”

Amanda Newbery of the Chapel nightclub said CCTV was an “essential tool”.

Insp Andrew Noble of Wiltshire Police said police are taking part in the review and working closely with the council to ensure CCTV is used in the most effective way possible.

“It is recognised that there are many contracted staff, volunteers and fundraising groups across the county that have supported our work through the use of CCTV and I am keen to see that continue,” he said.

“In Salisbury there are a number of watch schemes and other voluntary bodies that also benefit from working with the existing scheme.”

The CCTV system links pubs, shops, police and other venues in the city, as well as keeping watch over the city’s car parks.

The operators look out for known troublemakers, monitor antisocial behaviour, monitor underage drinking and even chaperone people nervous about walking alone at night.