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Closed-circuit television (CCTV)

Find out more about the use of CCTV in the borough.

Why we use CCTV

CCTV is one of the best tools against crime. It helps to lower the amount of crime in the borough and gives evidence when crimes are committed.

Cameras are continually monitored at our control room by experienced and qualified operators. The operators work in partnership with the police responding to incidents as they happen and helping them to respond effectively. CCTV recordings are also used to help identify suspects after an incident has happened and in court as evidence.

Live video from CCTV cameras is also used to improve the flow of traffic through the borough. Operators can see and report any traffic issues very quickly. Drivers who break the law, such as by driving through bus lanes, can also be issued with fines from CCTV cameras. 

It also reduces the cost of repairs as a result of vandalism, criminal damage or any other consequential indiscretions and detects acts of antisocial behaviour.

Regulation

We need to make sure that when we use CCTV as part of how we address crime we also respect people’s privacy.

The surveillance camera code of practice, introduced by the Protection of Freedom Act 2012, sets out principles for the use of CCTV by local authorities.

Our public space CCTV strategy explains how the partnership group will decide if, where and how CCTV cameras will be used. The assessment includes:

  • whether putting CCTV cameras in is the right answer to the issue
  • whether it is possible to install cameras which will reduce the problems
  • talking to local people, including those thought to be offending, to make sure the cameras don't move crime elsewhere  

Deployment and cost

Most of our CCTV system was installed between 10 to 15 years ago as a result of Home Office funding. There is not a funding stream for CCTV any more and additional cameras in the last 5 years have been funded from many sources, including Transport for London and regeneration projects.

The cost of installing a CCTV camera is £25,000 plus £2,500 per year to run it. There is no budget to increase the current amount of CCTV. However, the CCTV service is often asked to consider installing new cameras and looks for any opportunities which could fund installation and running costs. 

It can take up to 6 months to install a new CCTV camera and it must be considered whether other crime reduction methods will need to be put in place during this time.

The CCTV Strategy Group looks at 4 key areas to decide if a new camera should be installed:

  • establishing the issue and whether CCTV is the most effective way of addressing it 
  • the area must be checked to make sure it is possible to install a CCTV camera 
  • ensuring that local residents and businesses are also working to reduce crime and disorder in their area to create a partnership response to the issue 
  • CCTV can only record incidents, it must also be possible for other organisations to send a physical response to the location if an incident there is seen and reported

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