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CCTV and The London Bombings

An exclusive update by
Doktor Jon
Dateline July 18th 2005 - London, England

In the wake of the recent terrorist bomb outrage on London, the sheer scale of the Police forensic operation is only now becoming clearer.

The Metropolitan Police have recently confirmed that over 6,000 security video tapes have been seized, as part of the investigation into the bombers movements, in the days and hours immediately proceeding the attacks.
And yet, some commentators are predicting that as many as 25,000 tapes may eventually need to be reviewed as part of the investigation.

Of particular interest to the CCTV industry, no mention has yet been made of the significant number of hours of material, that would almost certainly have been recorded on Digital Video Recording (DVR) systems. Unlike the conventional Time Lapse video recorder, most of these machines do not have removable tapes, recording instead directly onto computer hard disc drives.

Whilst it is normally possible to back up recordings onto CD or DVD media, this technique would be hopelessly impractical for a recorder fitted with a large storage disc, containing many weeks of recorded images.

The implications suggest that either a significant number of police officers will need to spend countless hours reviewing the recorded material on site, or the machines will need to be seized as first line evidence, with the system operators being left without a recorder for the duration of the enquiry.

With all the undoubted benefits of the latest 'Digital' video recording systems, the simple fact that in a Forensic Surveillance role, the entire contents of a hard disc may need to be reviewed in detail, is something which has been conveniently overlooked by many proponents of this new technology.

It is widely acknowledged that this is the largest ever criminal investigation using Closed Circuit Television as a pivotal source of evidence. No doubt, many questions will soon need to be asked, particularly with regards to the poor quality of many recordings, and the obvious difficulty of reviewing thousands of hours of digital recording, where conflicting standards and systems, only compound the logistical difficulties of reviewing so much material, in what may well be a race against time.


A CCTV image of the London Bombers - could it have been improved? >>

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