Feeds

UK CCTV numbers 'may be overstated'

Police seek electronic access to council cameras

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Police forces are seeking electronic transfers of data from local authority cameras to police forces, according to Nick Garvan, assistant chief constable of Thames Valley Police.

Describing such cameras as "an indispensable investigative tool", he told the Home Affairs Select Committee last week: "Any perception on the part of the public that there is some kind of Orwellian infrastructure sitting behind society where these cameras are terribly well integrated and joined up as part of the surveillance state is entirely wrong."

Garvan said the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is asking for improved, ideally electronic, transfers of data from cameras: "We should be able to make use of overt, local authority CCTV with the minimum of bureaucracy, because everybody knows it is there and we shouldn't be hampered in our use of it." He added that such transfers would have to ensure the material met evidential standards for use in court.

The request is part of ACPO's national strategy on use of surveillance cameras.

Garvan cast doubt on the idea that Britain has 4.2m surveillance cameras, saying the figure was based on a 2002 study which extrapolated from the number of cameras on Putney High Street in London. "We approach that figure with some scepticism," he said, adding that ACPO's strategy relates to the cameras run by local authorities – of which there are around 30,000 in total.

In a written submission to the committee, ACPO said the 2002 study found that only 16 per cent of cameras were managed by the public sector, with the rest run by businesses and therefore subject to far less regulation.

Peter Neyroud, chief executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency, said his organisation was working on facial recognition technology which will use the output of cameras, through the Facial Images National Database programme. "If those are applied to a small local database, they can be very effective," he said of facial recognition, adding that the agency is also working on automated analysis of behaviour viewed by cameras.

Neyroud told the committee that a small study in one force had suggested that cameras produce nearly as many detections as DNA matching and fingerprints. "It's a hugely important part of serious crime investigation," he said, as the BBC series Crimewatch and recent missing persons enquiries made clear.

He added that cameras also reduce the likelihood of crime, as they make people feel more comfortable in public spaces, and more people in a public space in itself makes crime less likely.

Neyroud also told the select committee, which is investigating the surveillance society, that he has used the audit trail created by the Police National Computer to put someone in court, in response to a question on whether the information on that system is adequately protected.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
French 'terror law' declares WAR on the INTERNET itself, say digi-rights folks
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité: Two out of three ain't bad
SCREW YOU, EU: BBC rolls out Right To Remember as Google deletes links
Not even Google can withstand the power of Auntie
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.