Friday, 18 January 2008

Rage against the machine

Every once in a while I'll feel the need to have a beef about CCTV so yesterday it was nice to see the Telegraph confirming what pretty much everyone knows "Police admit drunks not deterred by CCTV". Being the kind of guy I am I've reproduced the best bits here for you:

Surveillance cameras do little, if anything, to prevent late night alcohol-fuelled crime and violence on Britain's high streets, the country's most senior police officer in the field has admitted. Graeme Gerrard, head of CCTV at the Association of Chief Police Officers, said that although Britain was now a virtual surveillance state, cameras usually failed to act as a deterrent for drunken yobs. He told a parliamentary committee that while other countries were astonished at the scale to which Britons were snooped on by the authorities, the evidence suggested CCTV had little impact on levels of late-night violence.

"Some of them may get disappointed when the CCTV goes in that actually... it doesn't deter most crime. I think they are perhaps misled in terms of the amount of crime that CCTV might prevent. Before CCTV can effectively deter people, they need to know the cameras are there. They have got to be thinking about the consequences of their behaviour. It is very effective in places like car parks, where offenders are going out to break into cars, and are thinking rationally. In terms of town centres, where a lot of the behaviour is violent behaviour, often fuelled by alcohol, people aren't thinking rationally. They get angry, the CCTV is the last thing they are thinking about. Even the presence of police officers doesn't deter the disorder on the street, so cameras are unlikely to deter them."

I'm sure you can work out how this applies to to Worcester Park or Sutton in general but if given a choice of the two I'd rather have more bobbies in cars than people watching (or not watching) CCTV monitors.

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