2008-05-07 : UK CCTV use 'a fiasco'


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2008-05-07 : UK CCTV use 'a fiasco'

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2008-05-16 12:11

CCTV use 'a fiasco', says senior UK officer

http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?ar ... t/insight_

London, United Kingdom - 07 May 2008 01:59

Britain's network of security cameras has been "an utter fiasco", failing to
cut crime despite billions of pounds being spent on it, a senior detective
was quoted as saying on Tuesday. Britain has the most surveillance in the
world, according to civil liberty groups and security experts, with an
estimated 4,2-million closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras on buildings,
shops, roads and stations.

But the Guardian reported Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville of London
police as saying that only 3% of the capital's street robberies are solved
using CCTV footage and criminals are not afraid of being caught on camera.
"CCTV was originally seen as a preventative measure," said Neville, head of
the Metropolitan police's division on visual images, identifications and

"Billions of pounds has been spent on kit, but no thought has gone into how
the police are going to use the images and how they will be used in court,"
he told the Security Document World Conference in London, according to the
Guardian. "It's been an utter fiasco." Scotland Yard later said it did not
consider that CCTV had failed but did not publicly refute Neville's
comments. It said in a statement that investment in CCTV had helped reduce
crime in London.

"We believe that CCTV is an important tool in protecting the public both as
a deterrent and in the investigation of a wide range of crime from 'minor'
offences to terrorism," it added. Neville's comments echo a government
report last October which said most CCTV footage is not of good enough
quality to help police identify offenders and many cameras are focused on
enforcing bus lanes as well as stopping crime.

It said anecdotal evidence suggests that over 80% of CCTV images supplied to
the police are not up to scratch. Neville is now leading an initiative to
increase conviction rates from CCTV by setting up a database of images to
track down offenders and to put pictures of suspects in crimes such as
muggings and rape on the internet, the Guardian said.

"This has got to be balanced against any Big Brother concerns, with
safeguards," he said. Work is under way on whether software can be developed
to perform automated searches for suspects on footage, while Neville said
officers need more training on using CCTV, with many being put off because
"it's hard work".

The Association of Chief Police Officers said CCTV could be vital in
investigations, as had been the case in some terrorism cases, but there are
problems because it has been built up in "a piecemeal way" by organisations
other than the police. "There are questions about how we can make better use
of it in the future," said Graeme Gerrard, Deputy Chief Constable of
Cheshire Police, ACPO's lead on CCTV.

"As the police officer quoted in the media today has said, better training
and more intelligent use of the technology are important to the future
development of how we use CCTV." - Reuters
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