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CCTV and Digital

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What is CCTV?

The use of Closed Circuit Television surveillance cameras (CCTV) has been one of the biggest crime prevention initiatives since the 1990s, where local authorities worked with police and business partnership schemes to install systems in city and town centres and other public spaces. 

“CCTV surveillance cameras are used as a situational crime prevention measure in public and private places. It is a formal surveillance technique where cameras are set up and monitored to aid crime prevention, detect offenders and control crowds.” College of Policing

Research in 2009 found that CCTV caused a 16% decrease in crime, in comparison to control areas. The most effective CCTV schemes were in car parks, which experienced a 51% decrease in crime. The schemes in other public places, such as city and town centres and around public housing, had lesser benefits, showing a 7% decrease (Welsh & Farrington 2009). However, the College of Policing concludes that “there is evidence that CCTV modestly reduces crime overall”. 

More recently, redeployable mobile CCTV cameras have become favourable due to their flexibility and cost-efficiency. They are used to help deter anti social behaviour as well as support the prevention and detection of crime. For example, read Operation Elstree in South Wales.

According to the Metropolitan Police, these laws and legislation allow the use of facial recognition:

Anyone operating a drone for recreational use is required to follow guidelines published by the Civil Aviation Authority.

  • College of Policing

Crime Reduction Toolkit – CCTV

Useful Links

Surveillance Camera Commissioner website

Visit the Website

Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s Office – How effective are Video Surveillance Systems (VSS)? blog post

Read the Blog

UK Government – Drones: how to fly them safely and legally 

Visit the Website

UK Government – Guidance to assist those with responsibility for the security of crowded places and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in relation to CCTV and video surveillance systems

Read the Guidance

Police Professional – First ‘bespoke’ drone launched by Gwent Police

Read the Blog

Local Government Association Guidance – Developing an approach to mandatory CCTV in taxis and PHVs

Read the Guidance

GoSafe – Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership

Visit the Website

Information Commissioner’s Office website (ICO)

Visit Website

Other forms of digital crime prevention and detection devices

include body worn cameras, ANPR cameras, speed safety cameras, helicopter cameras and more recently, facial recognition systems and drones.

  • Body worn cameras (BWCs) are small, visible devices attached to the uniform of police officers to capture audio and video footage of interactions between the police and members of the public. Read more at College of Policing.
  • Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) is a camera which reads and stores number plates of passing vehicles. Read more at Menu of Tactics, pages 83 and 84.
  • Safety cameras to reduce speeds and casualties on the roads were introduced in the early 1990s. Find out where cameras are placed in Wales and why at Go Safe and read our Road safety section for further information.
  • The National Police Air Service (NPAS) provides all police forces in Wales and England with air support. NPAS crews use specialist cameras and communicate directly with ground units and force control rooms, as they work together to help keep communities safe.
  • Live Facial Recognition (LFR) is technology that can help locate a person from a digital image. Read more at Met Police.
  • ‘Drones’, also known as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), are remotely operated aircrafts, the use of which are now common by both private individuals and commercial operators, as well as for community safety. For example, read how Mid and West Wales Fire & Rescue Service uses drones to find missing persons. North Wales Police also use drones to assist with investigations into road traffic collisions and major crime incidents, but not general patrol/ surveillance. Gwent Police have used drones to tackle off road biking.

Surveillance camera technology is commonly used by businesses and homeowners, with camera doorbells being increasingly popular (see useful links below for guidance on how to utilise domestic CCTV). However, it also used by people with ill intent to aid their criminal behaviour. For example, there have been reports of drones used to fly drugs into prison (BBC Future) and over farms to aid theft (Irish Times). Research has found that common behaviours in cases of coercive control within domestic abuse include the use of technology.