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back to article Councils spunk £515m in 4 years on CCTV

UK local authorities spent a total of £515m installing, operating and maintaining CCTV between 2007-11, according to the privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch. It has released figures obtained from freedom of information (FoI) requests showing that Birmingham was the highest spender on CCTV with more than £14m, while …

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FAIL

I see you...

..........but not clear enough to actually identify you or prosecute you.

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Black Helicopters

Re: I see you in hi-def and crystal clear

Try stopping on a bus stop for five minutes in Camden at 11pm, causing no obstruction. They helpfully give you a link to the crystal clear video that clearly shows the car, and both of us, me driving, my gf popping out to a cash point and back...

Try accidentally making an illegal right turn in Lambeth (although it was safe, it was just there to block a short-cut), and you get a link to a set of nice clear stills from the CCTV.

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Terminator

Re: I see you in hi-def and crystal clear

+1

Or mistakenly turning in to a street near Reading station which had recently had its bus lane restriction changed to be more restrictive. On the off chance, a handy camera had also been installed to catch anyone who wasn't aware of the bus lane change.... A camera that only provides two stills, crystal clear enough to grab the number plate, but a short video clip of the offence also!

Doh! (On behalf of the other half....)

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I live/work in central Birmingham, and the last time I saw a real policeman on the street was when they were guarding Harvey Nicks during the "riots".

I tried in vain to stop our apartment building being covered in CCTV, no one quite understood it wouldn't *stop* crime, just capture a blurry video of it if the worst happened. Since installation, I believe the only successful case was tracking down who's dog doo was in the car park once. True Story.

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So that's one canine offender that won't be pooping there again. I think we call that a result.

Worth every penny.

</sarcasm>

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Coat

Caerphilly has challenged this figure...

..., claiming it does not provide an accurate reflection of the information it provided in response to the FoI request.

Or in other words, they should have checked their figures more caerphilly?

I'll get my coat.

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Silver badge

Re: Caerphilly has challenged this figure...

Caerphilly's system was much cheaper.

Since nothing ever happens there they didn't actually install video cameras - they just took a series of stills, printed them out and stuck them on the walls of the control centre

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Anonymous Coward

£515m hires a lot of Police? FAIL.

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I suspect

The logic is that the maintenance costs of CCTV is less than that of our gallent boys and girls in blue. So if you reckon 10 cctv cameras equal 1 plod, the whole life costs of those cameras is less than that of a copper.

Technology allows facial recognition to identify perps, provided the camera is operating within manufactures parameters. There are no requirements for cameras to remove hats or hoods, because they can't do that anyway, so it can't be a requirement, and it's obsolete anyway because it requires a human to do it.

See perfectly logical, can't see any flaws can you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I suspect

"Technology allows facial recognition to identify perps"

As long as they don't wear baggy hoodies or look away from the cameras. It doesn't matter how HD the images are, in my experience, the perps clock the camera which is usually high up and look down as they pass it, so all you have is proof in glorius HD that someone in a hoody who's face you can't see went up the side of your house and you later discovered thehouse had been broken into.

Still, let's all feel safer eh?

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Silver badge

And the results are...........

Britain appears to be becoming one of the least desirable places to live these days. Excitable Armed Riot Police ( EARPs as in Wyatt), almost 2 million CCTV cameras, the overpowering Nanny State.......

Are there any real statistics that all of these "necassary measures" are actually having any real influence, are serious crime rates dropping. Do people really feel safer with all this "security".

Is it really justifiable to spend 0.5 Billion Pounds on CCTV, wouldn't job creation, improving housing, securing industry contracts be better ideas for reducing crime. Crime is the result of a broken system, why not use the funds to repair it rather than covering it up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And the results are...........

"Is it really justifiable to spend 0.5 Billion Pounds on CCTV, wouldn't job creation, improving housing, securing industry contracts be better ideas for reducing crime. Crime is the result of a broken system, why not use the funds to repair it rather than covering it up."

But this creates wealth and jobs ... well it does for the companies that manufacture, supply, install and maintain these spy cams.

Spending money on improving the lot of the general populace would never do. Its all about control and suppression, in the same way as all the other surveilance , our "betters" know that if we kick off as a unified movement then they will lose their hold on power, (losing sight that as a nation we no longer have the backbone to stand up for ourselves).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: And the results are...........

Yes, my first thought was this is all about the manufacturers; one might say uncannily reminiscent of the never-ending arms race - and my next thought was actually it will be the same companies, subsidiaries thereof or anyway the same shareholders, directors, ex-directors so on ad infinitum. Local Authorities are the modern day MOD procurement johnnies. About as welcome as a used one discarded on the pavement.

My final thought is of the politicians - local, national, armchair - for them this is their version of the rat pushing a lever that stimulates the pleasure centre such that they will push it rather than eating; but substitute 'acting in the best interests of the electorate' for 'eating', and 'endlessly wanking' for 'pushing a lever'.

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Anonymous Coward

I know it's a silly point...

...but a Birmingham is the largest council in the UK, it's not surprising it has the largest number of cameras.

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Gold badge
Flame

Re: I know it's a silly point...

That is true.

So how come Westminister Council spends 85% of the amount of Birmingham to cover a *much* smaller patch?

WTF are they doing with all those cams (and where are they putting them)?

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Big Brother

Re: Re: I know it's a silly point...

" (and where are they putting them)?"

Im sure there are many suggestions out there about where to put the big brother cams.

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Meh

Lucky

Lucky our Government doesn't have to follow say a cost-to-benefit ration, then again imagine if they then used such a system on themselves?

The cost-to-benefit ration of a politician has to be negative.

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Bronze badge
Megaphone

Damn right we need all the CCTV we can get!

How else are councils going to catch those naughty people who put rubbish in their neighbour's bin? Catch parents moving from area to area to get their kids into their chosen school? Catch and fine busy Mums with three kids under 5, one of whom accidentally drops a tiny piece of litter? CATCH PEOPLE LETTTING THEIR DOGS CRAP IN THE STREET!!!!! My God, I'm literally foaming at the mouth at the prospect off this sickening crime that is happening right now!!!!!

Yes I know these systems seem to be absolutely bloody useless when a woman, out alone at night is raped and murdered in full view of 17 cameras and every one of them is out of focus or broken, so long as we catch those litter bugs it's money well spent!!!!!

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Devil

It's obvious why they need so many cameras; it's so that they can have cameras covering the cameras in case they get vandalised and need to find out who did it.

Cameras, Cameras Everywhere!!

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Holmes

I'm sure I read this exact thing

a couple of months or so ago.

Not news.

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Gold badge
Flame

Where's the cash coming from?

*big* cuts to local authority support grants

So are they doing it off their *own* bat or their a (govt supplied) pot of cash out there for them to dip into. The classic govt wants the policy but bankrolls the locals to take the heat

With these "crime maps" the HMG is so fond of it should be easy to plot the crimes versus the poles.

Either get them to a state where they *can* deliver evidence you can *convict* on or *stop* installing them in the first place.

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FAIL

Brum Council certainly 'spunked it'

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-11524161

Spent a fortune installing CCTV in Sparkbrook, Sparkhill & Alum Rock, because they had very high Muslim populations - only to have to pay to remove it after an independent enquiry ruled it racist. The installation was approved under anti-terror legislation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Brum Council certainly 'spunked it'

And not paid for by Birmingham council. Check the facts. Installed by West Midlands Police, funded by Central Goverment.

Still, so long as they mow the central reservations near where I work every two weeks in summer and have 4 -6 guys, one van and a road sweeper picking up the leaves on a path very few people use, I'm happy; happy I don't live and pay taxes in Brum.

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Anonymous Coward

Any chance, if I ask nicely, that you could stop using the verb " to spunk" in your headlines please? No, I'm not a boy so perhaps that is the reason I find it an unncessary use of the word, and doesn't make for particularly good journalism. Please, El Reg, stop it?

Ta

B

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This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge
WTF?

Practically useless at night

Apart from the fact they are ignored by potential offenders, remember the Plod in Wiltshire who was allegedly (ha, ha) caught assaulting a female prisoner, they are easily defeated by hoodies or long-peaked baseball caps.

The infra-red versions are eve more easily eliminated - simply place a few high-output LEDs in the aforementioned long-peaked cap and the cameras are swamped. Have IR's monitoring out parking lot at work, dogs are far better.

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Anonymous Coward

Flooding IR cameras

That might have been true of video camera technology from 40 years ago, but not of modern CCDs and CMOS sensors.

Didn't the MythBusters programme test this one out a few years ago? It was definitely floating about on the blogs with pics and video results. (I'm not about to Google for a link, as I'm out of tinfoil.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Flooding IR cameras

Google still isn't a verb.

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