Feeds

Top cop brands CCTV a 'fiasco'

No deterrent, no good as evidence

High performance access to file storage

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". ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
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.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.