Public spending on CCTV is worthwhile to secure public safety, is the response of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) to a recent online report highlighting concerns over the rise in the number of CCTV cameras controlled by local councils over the past decade.
In its report, published in December, Big Brother Watch – an offshoot of the Taxpayers’ Alliance – questions the effectiveness of CCTV in deterring or solving crimes, an inaccurate assessment according to Pauline Norstrom, BSIA CCTV Section Chairman. Pauline comments: “Thankfully the reality of CCTV in Britain is not the doom-laden picture that is painted by this report. Time and again the police take advantage of CCTV images to reconstruct events, identify offenders and make high-profile calls for public support in their enquiries.”
“Such images are frequently called upon in the criminal justice system to help secure prosecutions. Three particular examples underlining the positive impact of CCTV in solving crimes are the Jamie Bulger case – one of the first times CCTV was used in a major investigation – the London bombings, where CCTV images helped to secure convictions for conspiracy to murder for those involved in a follow-up attack to the tragic events of 7/7, and the £53 million Tonbridge depot robbery.”
“The report also argues that money currently spent on expanding CCTV networks would be better utilised by employing more police on the beat. A more realistic comparison would have taken into account the anticipated operational life of the CCTV system, thereby dramatically reducing the number of police officers that could be employed using the equivalent funds. “The BSIA does not believe that the argument for CCTV goes hand-in-hand with advocating a ‘big brother’ culture, but does of course appreciate the need for effective checks and balances on CCTV to ensure that it is being used effectively. To this end the BSIA continues to play an active role in the promotion of CCTV best practice and has welcomed the Government’s announcement of an interim CCTV Regulator.”
“CCTV is a valuable weapon in the fight against crime and terrorism, something which is increasingly being recognised by governments and municipal authorities worldwide.”
For more information on CCTV, visit www.bsia.co.uk/cctv