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Doktor Jons

Guide to Closed Circuit TV (CCTV)

So would you like to play "Spot the CCTV Camera?". Eagle eyed visitors may recognise the profusion of street furniture, surrounding a single heritage dome camera keeping watch over part  of Londons' prestigious Oxford Street shopping area.
The unique "TRUSTED" National CCTV Improvement Campaign


Keeping the CCTV working
The true cost of maintaining a Town Centre CCTV system

News from the United Kingdom; on the unforseen cost of providing an 'effective' CCTV deterrent to crime.

Situated in the quiet leafy suburbs to the north of the city, the London Borough of Barnet has for some time now pursued an active plan to try and install CCTV systems, in all of its larger Town Centres.

Considering that there are 20+ major retail areas in the Borough, this was never really going to be a cheap and easy solution, in the fight against crime.

For one of the most recently installed systems in North Finchley Town Centre, the everyday cost of maintaining a high profile 'active' CCTV system, suddenly took on a whole new dimension.

On 13th May 2004, as the workman arrived to maintain a pole mounted minidome sited mid way up the high street, he unfortunately overlooked the golden rule for all right minded maintenance engineers.

With his van + cherry picker accurately positioned directly below the camera, he got out to extend the rear stabiliser legs. So far so good; that is until he realised that having left the keys in the ignition, and thoughtfully kept the engine running, it took only seconds for an opportunist thief to jump into the drivers seat, and head off into the distance at a great rate of knots.

The highly sophisticated Town Centre CCTV system which allegedly cost in the order of £ 200k (that's around US$ 350k or Euros 300k), was hardly surprisingly, unable to provide any CCTV footage of the incident. As a council spokesman was quoted in 'The Press' report, "At the time of the theft, the CCTV cameras in this part of North Finchley were being used to monitor the busy pedestrian areas..."

Detailed from an original article, published in
The Press (Barnet & Whetstone Edition) - 27th May 2004

Doktor Jon comments:-
"Whilst it is obviously less than sensible to leave an unattended vehicle
with its engine running, the fact that this incident took place directly below
a Town Centre CCTV camera is embarassing enough in itself. It does however
clearly reinforce
Doktor Jons argument that CCTV camera schemes which
exclusively use 'active' remote control cameras, are woefully inefficient and
should never be solely relied upon to produce those all important, 'passive'
Evidential Quality Recordings".
FOOTNOTE: According to recent press reports, the North Finchley CCTV
scheme caught a local resident dumping rubbish in the Town Centre car park:
the individual concerned was convicted and fined £ 1000 with £ 450 court costs.

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