May 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Among other things I am currently doing an internship with a Member of Parliament. Today his staff called in a counter-terrorism specialist to discuss security for his constituency office. In the course of offering advice on this the counter-terrorism guy shared some of his views on CCTV, which I found interesting because 18 months ago I did some research on CCTV in the UK.

One thing the counter-terrorism guy noted was that there are far too many CCTV cameras in this country. He didn’t mean this in the same way as Liberty or Big Brother Watch, however; his point was that most of the cameras are redundant. He told about a job he had worked on where a warehouse had installed 44 cameras – of which 6 were serving a useful purpose. Often people buy the wrong camera for the job at hand, or fail to set it up properly. If you’re thinking of buying CCTV cameras, he said, you could do worse than look at a useful government resource available online which helps you think through what the best CCTV solution for you might be.

Another thing he noted was that any private camera that operates in a public place (e.g. a street) needs to be registered, and often people fail to do this. Video footage from an unregistered camera is inadmissible in court as evidence. Defence lawyers faced with CCTV footage routinely check to see if the camera is registered, and often the Crown Prosecution Service is unwilling to take on cases where the only evidence is CCTV footage. The ICO is an important source of information on this.


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