‘Digital map of existing private surveillance cameras¹ could help police solve crimes overnight’
Police are not looking at available CCTV footage for the majority of their investigations in London. New FOI figures² reveal that police are recovering existing footage in just a fifth of crimes in the Capital.Officers retrieved CCTV for just 23,278 crimes, compared to 118,287 crimes where footage was not obtained.
Roger Evans, Conservative London Assembly Member, who uncovered the figures, says:
“CCTV is everywhere. In 2007 it was claimed that the UK had 1% of the world's population but 20% of its CCTV cameras. While it is meant to be there to protect us from crime, these figures demonstrate that they are rarely used. Instead, serious crooks such as murderers, rapists and robbers may be getting off scot free for one in five crimes because the available CCTV is not even recovered. Acquisitive crime such as theft and burglary may not be sexy, but it is serious and can have a devastating impact. Victims repeatedly tell me that too often in spite of existing CCTV of the crime, no investigation using this evidence seems to take place.”
“With limited resources the police should be working more closely with private CCTV owners across the Capital as the costs are minimal for the potential benefits. Pubs, clubs, shops and offices – who already own private CCTV cameras – should be able to register their details on a central website if they would like to help solve crimes in their area. Officers could then locate these cameras on a digital map and instantly contact the owners for footage in the event of a crime. Similar schemes are successfully running in places like New Orleans and Philadelphia. In many cases the footage is out there to solve a crime and we should have systems for the police and London’s civic minded people to work together in a simple and cheap way to catch villains.”
Use of CCTV by MPS in Investigations:
|CCTV not recovered||CCTV recovered|
|Violence Against The Person inc. murders and stabbings||19,161||4545|
|Sexual offences inc. rapes||906||153|
|Drugs inc. trafficking and possession||3,576||630|
|Theft and Handling inc. theft from person, theft from shops and theft of motor vehicles and cycles||61,709||13,204|
- In July 2013, Roger Evans uncovered that almost half (45%) of all crimes were not investigated by the Met due to lack of CCTV and other available evidence. FOI data showed a quarter (23%) of robberies and 40% of burglaries were ‘screened out’ by the Met, as well as 76% of car thefts and 81% of cycle thefts. (2012/13 figures).
- Digital maps would not include privately owned residential cameras, only those already owned by businesses and offices
- Digital maps would not be available for public view. The maps would only be accessible to police for use during investigation
¹ It is estimated that privately-owned CCTV systems outnumber those operated by police and local authorities by as many as 70 to 1. British Security Industry Association, July 2013, http://www.bsia.co.uk/
² Figures obtained from the Metropolitan Police under the Freedom of Information Act, covering a 12-month period 01/06/2012 – 31/05/2013