CCTV Failing To Combat UK Crime

Heavy investment in closed circuit television (CCTV) has failed to have a significant impact on cutting crime, a leading senior police officer has said.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Neville who is head of the Met's Visual Images, Identifications and Detections Office (Viido) is quoted as saying the system is an "utter fiasco".

Det Ch Insp Neville who attended the Security Document World Conference in London said that "CCTV was originally seen as a preventative measure" but that "billions of pounds" had been spent on equipment but that no thought had been given on how to use the images and that "only 3% of crimes were solved by CCTV".

The senior police officer is to pilot a new database of CCTV images, which it is hoped, will help track and identify offenders. The team at Viido will also be placing images of suspects of muggings, rape and robbery online.

Cheshire Deputy Chief Constable Graham Gerrard, who chairs the working group of the Association of Chief Police Officers told the Guardian Newspaper that "it made no sense to have a national DNA and fingerprint database" and that there were ongoing discussions about developing technology to search digitised databases and match suspects' images with known offenders. He added that there were "ethical and technical issues" to consider.

John Dwyer, former Assistant Chief Constable of Cheshire police believes that CCTV provide a "deterrent effect". Mr Dwyer told BBC Radio 5 that the cameras would have a positive impact as long as police took action based on footage gained from them.

The charity Victim's Voice supports more effective use of CCTV systems. A spokesperson for the organisation said that if CCTV is "handled properly it can be a superb preventative tool".

In April, a burglar was jailed after being captured on CCTV and was matched with the DNA left at the scene of one crimes he was arrrested for. John Gibson Rigg, 35 from Bolton, hid his face from the camera on arrival to the scene at Whittam Road, Whalley, but was caught because of his distinctive gait. Ian Linane, a podiatrist, matched the man and the walk together with DNA evidence. Mr Linane said "this type of approach can be valuable in a number of ways in that it is not always hindered by types of clothing worn or even disguises".

It is reported that there are an estimated 4.2 million CCTV cameras in operation in the UK.


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