CCTV Useful or Not?

There’s currently renewed discussion about CCTV in South Molton.

Personally I think CCTV is, generally, a ‘bad thing’ and its usefulness in terms of the detection and prevention of crime is very overrated.

A recent College of Policing document about the use of CCTV had this to say:

“The review finds that use of Close Circuit Television (CCTV) can lead to a small reduction in crime. CCTV is more effective when directed against specific types of crime; it is effective at reducing theft of and from vehicles, but has no impact on levels of violent crime”.

And an official Home Office report said this:

“[E]vidence suggests that over 80% of the CCTV footage supplied to the police is far from ideal, especially if it is being used for primary identification”.

In civil service language having a car with three wheels  would be “far from ideal”.  The rest of us, on the other hand, would say it was “completely useless”.

There are of course very good uses for CCTV. CCTV coverage of ticket barriers, motorways and shops is a good thing.  It’s good for perimeter security of  large buildings. But only if  constantly monitored and acted on very quickly.