CCTV in Britain: The Stats
CCTV has become part of the backdrop of the modern British landscape, protecting businesses and homes while providing police forces and security companies with a vital tool for both deterring and solving crime.
CCTV in London
Introduced in the late 1970s, Closed Circuit Television was initially the keep of high profile premises that were likely to be targeted by criminals, such as banks and high-end retail buildings. Bulky and expensive, they became synonymous with blurry, low quality images seen on news reports and crime-based programming. Developments in the technology saw a huge increase in CCTV use for all forms of residential and commercial properties – especially in London.
With 7,431 public CCTV cameras spread over 33 councils, the city is now one of the world’s biggest users of this form of remote monitoring (to put it in perspective, Paris has 326). Many do not consider this an excessive amount, however, and the ratio of cameras is in line with crime statistics per capita. [The national figure is estimated to be around 1.85 million cameras.]
In a recent YouGov survey of 6,000 adults across the continent carried out this year, the British contingent clearly expressed that it did not feel that CCTV restricted or affected freedom in any way. 67% of the group declared this view, while a huge 81% saw it as a positive tool in the fight against crime.
The statistics represent a “trade-off” in the public consciousness between civil freedoms and safety from crime – something that was originally believed to be around a 50/50 split before the findings of this survey were released. Although it is believed that the average Briton is captured on CCTV around 70 times per day, the vast majority of these are fleeting glimpses in shops and many accept this as the small compromise necessary for improved protection from crime.
This demonstrates a shift towards accepting the huge benefits that CCTV brings to modern societies, with each development in the technology making it easier to identify criminals as well as present a greater deterrent to vandalism in the first place.
TV Network Protocol
One such development concerns the growth of the TV Network Protocol (TVNP). This is an open source network utilised by many large organisations across London and beyond, including the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London, that allows for a linking of CCTV systems to a central network. Not only does this offer the benefit of quick and easy access to a range of CCTV images and monitoring devices for authorities trying to track criminal activity, it also allows for the utilisation of more cameras at any one time than one single operator could provide either the funds or manpower to run.