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What about the current use of CCTV in Town Centres ...?

In the last seven years or so, the use of Closed Circuit Television in public areas, particularly “Town Centres”, has experienced a degree of growth which can best be described as explosive.

On the back of successive UK Governments enthusiastically funding a programme of intensive camera installations, there is hardly a Town Centre in the United Kingdom which has not readily embraced the adoption of CCTV, or at the very least is planning to in the not too distant future.

So, is this a good thing?

Well, a quick browse through other parts of this site, including the System Design and Profiling sections, will put you in no doubt as to the opinion of Doktor Jon on this subject.

“The vast majority of existing Town Centre CCTV schemes in the U.K ..... are inappropriately configured, grossly inefficient, and technically incapable of fulfilling even the most basic levels of Passive Evidential Quality video Recording (PEQR)”.

How can this possibly be? With the average Town Centre (TC) scheme now costing around £ 250,000 - 300,000 (Euro or US $ 375,000 > 525,000), this surely must be money well spent?

Well let's first look a little more closely at the reasons for installing a Town Centre scheme. The local Police force want to a) reduce the level of crime, hopefully through the deterrence created by the presence of video surveillance cameras, b) increase the number of arrests and convictions, resulting from good quality Evidential Quality Recording (EQR), and c) maximise the efficiency of their already overstretched limited resources, when required to patrol substantial areas.

At the same time, local communities want CCTV because they believe it will reduce crime, and make their neighbourhood safer and more pleasant; the Local Councillors desperately want all of the above, because if they deliver the goods, they are more likely to have some positive support come the next election.

So what can possibly be wrong with this simplistic approach of installing CCTV to effect a reduction in crime?


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