On camera

6 months ago (8:27 PM)
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It is scary - worse than 1984, but I know a lot of people feel that it won't make them safer, but would help police to catch any mugger later on. The advice given is to move along if possible, when attacked, so you are in the field of view of a cctv camera.


CCTV has always been a contentious issue. Numerous studies and pilots over the years have proved various things.

In short, CCTV would probably not make me feel a lot more safer if it was hidden. But it would assure me that if anything did happen, then there is a greater chance of the offender(s) being caught. Of course, this again is then dependent upon the quality of the CCTV footage - is it a good camera, is it placed in the right direction etc.


If we can't actually get police on the streets then CCTV is the next best thing.


No, but it does make me feel that if I was mugged, there might be a better chance of catching the culprits. You do need to manoeuvre yourself towards a camera though.


According to the police's own evidence, CCTV footage is considerably cheaper for achieving a conviction then even techniques such as DNA testing!


I would say so. It has a dual function too; it can exonerate people who might otherwise be falsely accused. Were I to be told that someone fitting my description was reported to have committed a crime in Sheffield, I could say that I was in London's Oxford Street at that day and time which would be easy to prove with CCTV in place.


If you went into specific shops yes, but if it was a matter of accessing Oxford St CCTV records and then watching it for hours in the hope of picking you out of the millions of shoppers, unlikely.


whats the point of getting a conviction, does that reverse time and make you unmugged, put some more police on the stret , you can pay them with the money you would spend to to put cameras, and court fees, which would not be required if the police was there to prevent the crime in the first place.
once a crime has been commited, the police have ALLREADY FAILED their duty, so why do you think they wont fail again ???...


Well it never stops people getting stabbed or robbed but seems to work fine if some drunk guy takes a piddle up a doorway cops on scene instantly


I wish! Only a few are caught, and most seem to go down residential side streets where there are no CCTV cameras in order to pee on children's bedroom windows and people's doorsteps. Use a drain, guys, use a drain. Better a quick flash of a member by the gutter than having it in full view when you glance out of your window, or having your kids step into a stinking lake of urine on your doorstep first thing in the morning.


Having had several accidents over the last few years I have always been amazed that when I am not at fault and even with CCTV cameras operating where it takes place there has never been any clear pictures I am sure if it was the other way round same place etc there would be


Most just are using to fine the motorist rather than cuting crime shame on the London assambely put the safety of London citizen on risk for the sake of revenue as we know most of the London borough make money this way


We are already the most surveilled population in the world. Do we really need more CCTV's? I think not. If anything, we need far less.

I don't know about whether CCTV works at preventing crime as all the research suggests that it displaces it. I would rather not have any CCTV carneras as it seems to be misused by the authorities to crack down on legitimate protest or for catching out unwitting motorists.


The use of cameras by some councils (Tower Hamlets, I'm looking at you) to levy fines for minor and harmless technical infringements is in danger of seriously eroding public support for them.

I was recently fined £150 for stopping in a car club vehicle for less than two minutes in a completely deserted street in order to safely consult a map. I appealed this all the way, but no body had the power to overrule the council bureaucrat, even the elected counsellors! He had the power to levy the fine if legal however unreasonably; there was no grounds for appeal. The suspicion is that the official stands to gain personally (through a bonus for example) and the purpose of the fine was simply for this financial gain and/or the council revenue rather than for any valid public purpose.

I have a simple suggestion: all fines and penalties, except when imposed by judges or magistrates, should have a requirement to "show harm" and should be appealable on the grounds of "no harm done". It would require changes to the law to force this on councils, but I see no reason why they should not adopt this as a voluntary self-restraint to improve community relations.

The problem is that many of the laws now being enforced this way were passed prior to CCTVs and on the basis that an enforcement officer would use discretion and would only impose the fine after giving the infringer a chance to "move along". Now the fines can be imposed many months after the event and without the enforcer having the restraining effect of personal human contact.


There should be more CCTV cameras in shopping areas and high street as well as residential streets where most crime is committed


Yes, CCTV is a great crime deterrent. I feel a lot safer when I see several cameras around. Maybe in the future we will have drone patrols in dodgy areas at night. Criminals will always have to payback their evildoing.


The last thing residents will want is to have noisy drones under their windows all night, on top of all the other noise. I see that the entrepreneurs who set up the Aspect property management company are asking to have drones used for speedier deliveries (for when their staff have forgotten keys) that will be able to avoid traffic jams. Your Amazon delivery straight to your window, perhaps? The Civil Aviation Authority is looking at the proposal (they would have to give permission), and Boris Johnson is in support apparently. Just great, flying lawnmower engines throughout London!


where we need more cameras are for the crazy and dangerous driving thayt goes on on Stratford High st !!! I asked the council and police about how we get them put in and they said i have to start a petition !! Why can't someone come and witness what its like here ??

Talk London

In the recent London Survey, held here on Talk London, nine in ten people told us they feel safe in their local area during the day, but only six in ten said they do at night. People feel the same when asked about London in general. Would more CCTV cameras make you feel safer at night too, or what other measures do you think would be most effective?

Talk London Community Manager


Not in my area, which is awash with CCTV. This does not deter the constant stream of 'happy' people heading from venue to venue or towards home, from late night to the wee hours. We need police on foot patrolling the area, stopping the antisocial behaviour, breaking up the fights, walking through the quieter side streets occasionally. But the community police do not work evenings and the Met focus on the places where the drunk people are massing. And what do they use the CCTV for? We have those roaring cars at night, with souped-up exhausts, waking everyone up, yet the police never seem to stop them.


Alors ma réponse est une simple “non”. Un attaquer pourrait simplement se cacher derrière une masque ou quelque chose similaire. Ce qu’on doit faire est d’avoir plus de policiers dans la rue, en particulier après le couchait du soleil.
Les caméras ne sont qu’une excuse pour plus de surveillance sur le publique.

Talk London

Hi Tonnerre,

Thanks for your post. I've translated this (below) for other readers.

"So my answer is a simple "no." An attack could simply hide behind a mask or something similar . What we must do is to have more police on the street, especially after the sun slept .
The cameras are just an excuse for more surveillance on the public."

Talk London Community Manager


We have a plethora of CCTV on the estate where I live yet we find out the quality of images is not good enough to identify perpetrators! A waste of money.


I know that CCTV can't stop crime. At least there is a chance to have an evidence.

Steve R

I have yet to find a CCTV arresting the perpetrator when someone is being beaten up and preventing further injury, if lucky they may find them and then they will have a suspended sentence for their violent behaviour. Why isn't the victim surcharge paid to the victim it just appears as a fine on top of a fine, pointless. We have more CCTV per head than any other country and yet as they increase crime continues at the same or higher level, so they don't work in the most obvious way people want, prevention, as the cure is very ineffective.


Yes. I think that at least it would deter some from. Committing a. Crime


CCTV is making me feel very unsafe. They need to go! Instead we need to rebuild the trust between the government and the people. Constantly being watched are only produce a distrust and divide in our community. It's a breach of our privacy.


Don't make me laugh, I was the victim of a theft and it happened right under a CCTV camera and the police could not even be bothered to view the footage.


CCTV does not make me feel safer; it does offer me encouragement that, in the event of an incident / crime, it is more likely someone would be apprehended.


In my street we had a very expensive CCTV camera installed. When there's any crime, the camera's always facing the wrong way and the camera operators don't move it to catch criminal activity. The camera doesn't pan - it seems to be fixed always pointing the wrong way. Something to do with privacy (ICO)!!!? Bonkers!! The police can't view live footage and it almost takes a court order for the police to get to see any recordings. They actually come to me to look at my high-res CCTV I have in order to identify any criminals.


Unfortunately without CCTV police would have great difficulty in bringing a criminal to justice. The CPS require a great deal of evidence and the police are often criticized for not having enough evidence due to some small loophole in our justice system.


Love to know or see for myself if the CCTV, on my estate really works at all, since we get problems, like a murder this year which would have come up on the CCTV or group meeting in
the railway carpark at Walthamstow late in the Close. Police never there to check out, scary.


Yes CCTV makes me feel safer. It can be a deterrent and can help catch criminals afterwards. I can't see a downside. People state that they are an invasion of privacy. But if they are in public, you shouldn't be doing anything 'private' anyway. If they offend you that much, you must have something to hide. Which is still not an argument against CCTV.


I learned by experience that CCTVs do nothing. My car was stolen from my drive way and metropolitan police did nothing but closed the case 3 days later by saying that there is nothing they can do. When I told them there are CCTV cameras by the entrance and exit of my street and most of my neighbors have their CCTVs installed to secure their place, they said they don't have enough resources to check all the CCTVs one by one. Hence it's closed without taking any action. I still remember what police said when they came to see me on the day of theft, he said your car is probably somewhere in east europe by now, so good luck. I learned that it is useless to have CCTVs around hence they don't really care at all. (Well unless you are someone important)


Exactly the same thing happened to me and others who have had their vehicles taken! Its annoying that more is not being done at the borders to monitor this

Steve R

"Something to hide?" This has more to do with the abuse and lack of criminal charges against the abusers, individuals, not corporate bodies.
Its purported use has several failings, first it has a minimal effect in prevention, secondly, as has been pointed out here, to actually be used in catching criminals and thirdly the success in actually convicting the perpetrators. The few successes hardly justify the proliferation, I have CCATV in my home, designed to ensure the State keeps to the rules when I am assessed, they don't like it, do they have something to hide?, they refuse to permit them and leave.
I have no power to make them turn their cameras off yet they expect me to obey their orders, I won't as I need evidence of the assessment for later action in the tribunal, they have lied and I won't be caught again without a witness to prove it.
I don't trust the State to keep to the rules and even less when the complaints and corrective system is designed to be so complex that it is almost impossible to obtain redress and punishment of the abusers.
Cameras fail in their prime objective, they cost vast sums which should be better used in human prevention, which cannot be replaced by cameras. I suppose when Robocop is on the streets then they will work, but I don't like that scenario either.
Just because far too much of my activity is already recorded when I go shopping or have to prove who I am, doesn't mean I should meekly accept that even my movements are recorded
and kept for how long?, without my permission or knowledge.
I will only accept cameras when there are clear legislative rules, not amendable by Ministers, that guarantee my, free, freedom of access to them and fixed maximum time limit, 1 month, before automatic deletion, they can only be kept for longer by a court order with a maximum time limit of 6 months, renewable twice only. That is more than enough time for even our snails pace justice system to finish investigations.
The first poster made a point about moving on to be within the field of view, I don't know where they are, the same silly signposting as is used for speed cameras and just as meaningless.

Ian James Seale

Yes, and more visible Police Officers with Body Cameras too.


Yes. They make me feel safer. But I wish they were being used better. Not only in case of a murder but also stolen bike, littering, not picking dogs poop. You make think it's not worth the cost but I think it's great educational tool. Criminals must know that they'll be caught and sentenced.

Steve R

We have more cameras than all the national murders since the MET were founded :).
Yes criminals gamble there is a 50/50 chance of being caught, awarded with their ASBO badge and sentenced to litter picking, which they aren't very good at.
Joined up thinking is not part of the justice system in this country, just as cause and effect doesn't form part of the process either.
Yes I am a cynic, but learnt that through experience and it is getting worse not better.


I have nothing to hide, so, for me, human or not, everything that can support the police control work is welcome! in other countries are placing cameras inside the nursery schools, primary schools or in the care homes, because they had many cases of beatings, and every kind of psychological and verbal abuses.

Included some thiefs in the hospitals when a patient leave the bed for a while!
Probably they have a very high rate of bad people, but I think that to keep us safe for one or for 1000, for the professional of the crime or for the "desperate newbie" the only way is always the old school: a good deterrent before and hard laws after.


I'm very concerned that anybody can operate CCTV. There are; too many, rouge operators. Police only to operate CCTV. Do you need at least six [6] CCTV cameras in a very tiny space; as in St Pauls Underground? This is pure stupidity. If you have to have CCTV; please put them in high crime areas and not just for show!!!

Shannon Williams

100% brilliant idea. I don't break the law so it wouldn't bother me. Should something happen to me I would be grateful of the evidence cameras would provide in capturing the perp and convicting rhem


Yes, it makes me safer but I think are not everywhere.


I think we have a fantasy that cctv is in someway vaguely effective, yet whenever we are asked to help MPS to identify a person, the photo is invariably grainy, out of focus, dark and generally useless. Add to this that every cctv is recording on disparate media, of wildly different dates, formats and recycle rotas, then we really have a mountain in incompatible formats. FNo-one is sitting watching this footage, its contents are not indexed or easily retrievable. I may have a fantasy that Big Brother is watching me, but reality is that he isn't, a minimum wage security guard might be idly gazing at a screen sometimes, when not playing Solitaire or staring at his Facebook. Westminster Council have given up with cctv, we should stop worrying about this dead technology.