Sicura Systems attended the recent Global MSC Security conference in Bristol where Ian Cook, the company’s VAR Sales Account Manager, addressed delegates on the subject of the pending Protection of Freedoms Bill and its likely effect on public space CCTV.
Mr Cook took as his starting point the recent Gerrard/Thompson figures which suggest that 6% of the UK’s CCTV cameras are on buses and trains while 2% are in town and city centres. This leaves 92% or 1.7 million cameras in private ownership, notably at retail outlets, leisure destinations and petrol forecourts.
Ian told delegates that the low proportion of overall camera numbers in street-facing civic locations does much to defuse recent lobbying by Liberty and other pressure groups. He then speculated that with the advent of megapixel and HD, camera numbers may begin to fall because if image quality improves, urban planners, architects and local authorities will realise that fewer units are likely to give the same or better coverage.
As the optical aspects of CCTV develop, accompanying management systems are also improving apace. Mr Cook outlined the functionality of Sicura Systems’ VMS solution, DigiLive™, which is utilised within mission-critical applications requiring instant access to digital content 24/7/365.
DigiLive™ has the capability of recording and viewing each camera stream in the format presented to the system, meaning that high-quality source feeds such as 720p HD can be captured, stored, replayed and exported in HD quality. This allows precise, rapid retrieval when an incident needs to be reviewed. Footage is shown to the operator in relevant time, date and categorised order, so that events can be evaluated and a recording given to third parties such as police and judicial authorities.
Ninety delegates attended the event at the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel, the highlight being a ‘Question Time’ session for which panellists included Bill Butler of the Security Industry Association, Dr Peter Fussey of the University of Essex and Paul Mackie of CameraWatch.
Dr Fussey is a senior lecturer in criminology at the University of Essex with research interests that include analysis of the impact of surveillance technologies on terrorism. CameraWatch is an independent, self-funding advisory body which concerns itself with the legality of surveillance measures and has called for the definitive number of CCTV systems in the UK to be logged along with individual camera information.