Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Met Police report shows CCTV costs £20,000 per single conviction - how many would an extra officer get per year?

An internal Met Police report has raised very serious questions regarding the value of CCTV as a cost-effective crime fighting tool.

We have yet to see the full report but the headline is that they have seen one conviction for every 1,000 CCTV cameras. They have equated this to £20,000 per conviction.

Since we have 20% of the worlds CCTV cameras in the UK (only 1% of the population though) one could argue that this is the perfect environment for a meaningful study.

The question is how many crimes does an average police officer conclude (or provide evidence leading to a conviction) each year. If it is more that one (and we suspect it is) this money is almost certainly better spent on actual Police Officers (starting wage for a Constable £22,680 PA).

"but CCTV is a great deterrent" - well... not in most cases. For the dedicated criminal there are many ways to bypass it:
1. Wear a baseball cap or 'hoddie' - we have seen countless hours of footage showing crimes being committed by people with a cap or their hood up. This negates the majority of useful evidence of any camera above eye-level (which most of them are).
2. Physically disable the cameras - spray paint, wire cutters, big stone, hammer, pointed stick etc.
3. Electronically disrupt wireless cameras - a more recent development but jamming equipment is very cheap and will easily disrupt any wireless camera (jammers are available for less than £100). Of course, you are not relying on wireless cameras for any of your mission critical functions?

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