Terrorists are Warned
The key role for CCTV in the War against Terror?
News from the United Kingdom; in the run up to the elections for Mayor of London, the present incumbant seeking re-election, Mr. Ken Livingstone, has been commenting along with his main rivals, on the benefits of Closed Circuit Television.
When asked the question, "CCTV has been hailed as the solution for crime on London's suburban high streets. Would you find more funding for it?".
The mayor responds, "Absolutely. For example, we have CCTV on 94 per cent of all Tube (Underground train) stations and one of the reasons I want to take control of overland trains is because people don't feel safe on them. CCTV is very good for that.
And if you have a terrorist coming in a car with a particular number, we can help identify them quickly with the cameras.".
Detailed from an original 'election special' feature, published in
The Mill Hill and Edgware Times - 20th May 2004 (www.hendontimes.co.uk)
Doktor Jon comments:-
"Oh dear, where do we begin! The London Underground 'Tube' network may well
have CCTV coverage on 94% of stations, but coverage and effectiveness are two
different things. It's perhaps safe to assume that the figure quoted relates to the
overall number of stations which have CCTV surveillance cameras, and not more
importantly, the percentage of public access areas which are monitored in
each location. The occasional images released from LU cameras in support of
criminal investigations, do little to suggest that any informed thought has gone
into either the choice of equipment, or the cameras overall set-up
Mayor Livingstone suggests that CCTV is very good at making people feel safe,
but there is of course far more to consider than simply that.
During his first term of office, the Mayor has overseen the introduction of his
highly controversial 'Congestion Charge' traffic reduction scheme, in Central London.
The project which is dependent on the use of many hundreds of CCTV cameras
linked to an Automatic Number Plate Recognition system, may well be capable of
recording a terrorists vehicle, save for three main problems. Firstly, all ANPR
systems have an inherent loophole, and that's apart from the fact that they are
not 100% accurate. Secondly, the Congestion Charge scheme only operates
between 7.00am and 6.30pm (not at weekends), so any vehicles travelling through
the zone at other times, are not captured by the recording system. In any event, if the
charges have been paid, then the images are deleted after midnight, the following day.
Finally, as far as Doktor Jon is aware, their are no documented cases of any terrorist
vehicle having been 'flagged' by an ANPR video surveillance system.
STOP PRESS: Following the election on June 10th 2004, Mayor Livingstone has
been re-elected, for a further four years in office.