Sunday, 19 October 2008


Community CCTV cameras incapable of catching criminals

It's not that unusual to come across video surveillance cameras that for one reason or another, are quite incapable of producing Evidential Quality Recordings (EQR).

Although to some degree, a wide range of technical issues afflict the vast majority of CCTV security cameras currently in use across the UK, according to this story from The Shields Gazette, the three cameras in question were actually not working at all, when needed the most.

It would appear that the CCTV cameras which were installed to protect a parade of shops in South Shields, had in fact been out of action for a number of weeks due to an underground cable fault, at least according to a Local Authority spokesperson.

Failed equipment is not in itself a story, but where staff are held up at knifepoint, some hours after the suspect has been seen parading around the area supposedly surveilled by the community safety cameras, it beggars belief that the same serious fault which prevented the cameras from functioning, could so easily be repaired within a matter of hours of the attack taking place.

Whilst it's true to say that most equipment failures are only ever discovered post event, in this situation, the council were apparently aware for some time, but failed to effect a repair within what most people would consider a reasonable period.

The local traders may be absolutely fizzing at this blatant example of technical incompetence, but I'd much prefer to regard the failing as an obvious example of the laissez-faire irresponsibility, much beloved by those in authority who's favourite expressions include "we're not worried about that" and "it'll never happen here". 

This may be all too familiar to most CCTV Consultants, but for those people affected by poor security management procedures, they could be forgiven for asking who exactly should be held responsible.

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