Britain plans survey of CCTV cameras

March 8, 2009 at 12:46 AM
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LONDON, March 8 (UPI) -- The British government plans a survey to find out how many anti-crime cameras have been installed, how many work and how many provide usable pictures.

The closed-circuit television cameras are not regulated, The Times of London reports. There are an estimated 4.2 million devices monitoring the streets of the country, based on a survey of two streets in London about seven years ago.

"We are currently considering how this will be done to ensure CCTV systems are effectively overseen and bring together evidence of good practice," said Vernon Coaker of the Home Office.

Since the 1990s, thousands of cameras have been installed in town shopping districts, malls, housing developments, supermarkets and factories. Transport of London has 10,000 cameras, while there were 260 at the Houses of Parliament several years ago.

In 2005, the cameras helped police track suspectsd in the bombing of London's underground rail system.

Graeme Gerrard, a high-ranking police officer in Cheshire and spokesman on CCTV for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said the cameras do not stop anti-social behavior.

"CCTV is less effective in preventing people from being stupid but it is very effective in alerting police early to trouble occurring and allows us to get there earlier to try and stop it," he said.

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