Feeds

Top cop brands CCTV a 'fiasco'

No deterrent, no good as evidence

3 Big data security analytics techniques

A senior Metropolitan police officer has described the UK's CCTV strategy as a "fiasco", saying billions had been spent with very little impact on either stopping crime or providing evidence.

But don't count on the UK's flocks of cameras being taken down any time soon - the comments appear to be a thinly veiled plea for more cash to be poured into the country's favourite surveillance technology.

Mick Neville, head of New Scotland Yard's Visual Images, Identifications and Detections Office (Viido) said: "Billions of pounds has been spent on kit, but no thought has gone into how the police are going to use the images and how they will be used in court. It's been an utter fiasco: only three per cent of crimes were solved by CCTV."

Neville told the Guardian that officers often do not look for images beyond those held by local councils. He said investigating officers don't like looking through CCTV images "because it's hard work".

Viido will start putting images of suspects in mugging, robbery and rape cases on the Metropolitan Police website next month. The Met already puts up images of suspects in high profile crimes.

Plans to create a national CCTV database seems to be on hold because technology to carry out automatic searches is not up to the job. However, a database is in the works which uses tracking technology from the sports advertising industry. This looks for distinctive logos on clothing to find previous images of suspects where they may not have concealed their identities as effectively as when they actually committed the crime.

Viido is creating a London-wide database which is reinforced by written descriptions of suspects. Where this is being trialled it is "helping the police" in some 15 to 20 per cent of street robberies. Neville accepted that such moves could raise Big Brother concerns.

The comments seem to be a demand for more and better CCTV, rather than a reversal of the UK's love affair with surveillance and reactive policing. They also reflect last October's report on UK CCTV strategy which said most cameras do not provide good enough images to identify people and that police often do not get access to relevant images regardless of their quality. It also called for a national register of cameras and networking them so they can be accessed remotely - police usually have to visit the camera, or control room, in order to view the footage.

Cheshire's deputy chief constable Graham Gerrard said there was no point having a national DNA database if police still had to approach 43 different forces to access images of suspects, the paper adds. He said plans for the Facial Indentification National Database (Find) were on hold because of technology problems.

Echoing the feelings of many who deal with IT suppliers, he said: "Sometimes when they put their [equipment] in operational practice, it's not as wonderful as they said it would be... I suspect [Find] has been put on hold until the technology matures. Before you can digitise every offender's image you have to make sure the lighting is right and it's a good picture."

The Information Commissioner has said it wants to see safeguards on who can access images, and it would have concerns if images of "individuals going about their daily lives was retained". ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
APPLE FAILS to ditch class action suit over ebook PRICE-FIX fiasco
Do not pass go, do cough (up to) $840m in damages
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.