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'No more CCTV', cries top CCTV cop

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The man in charge of the Met's CCTV unit has criticised the way police use surveillance and called for no more cameras to be installed.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Neville said footage from cameras was often not used because forces do not have systems or staff to retrieve images. He added that serious crime that could be solved by CCTV was not, because of poorly targeted investment.

Comparing London to other parts of the country, he said: "Because we had CCTV first, we made all the mistakes.

"And the mistake was spend it on kit, don't spend it on people or processes and that's what's gone wrong. Unless there is a systematic way of gathering CCTV then it will continue not to be as effective as it could be."

Neville was responding to the findings of a Newsnight investigation, broadcast on Monday night.

He continued: "What I would say is we've got enough cameras, let's stop now, we don't want any more cameras.

"Let's invest that money that's available and use it for the training of people, and the processes to make sure whatever we've captured is effectively used."

Recent news stories prompted the Information Commissioner to warn police against pressurising businesses into installing cameras to record their customers. Neville's intervention marks the first time a top CCTV officer has spoken out against further roll out.

In February a Lords committee warned that the expansion of CCTV and other surveillance threatened personal freedoms.

As if to underline Britain's status as the West's most monitored society, the BBC's Freedom of Information requests showed that authorities on the Shetland Islands have more CCTV cameras than the San Francisco Police Department. ®

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