Citizens in London are used to the cameras that adorn street corners
and other locations around the historic metropolitan area. The cameras are used
to monitor citizens and help the police in London to solve crime as well. The
cameras are very effective at solving crimes according to the London
Metropolitan Police (Met).
BBC News reports that Det. Ch. Insp. Mick Neville, the head of the Met, said
that the images the camera captured are treated like fingerprints and DNA evidence.
According to the Met, in 2010 the number of suspects that were identified by
the camera system went up to 2,512 in 2010 compared to 1,970 identified in
The increase in the number of suspects identified may have to do with
the increasing number of cameras in the city. In 1999, London had a CCTV system
with 21,000 cameras installed. However, in 2010, the CCTV system has a total of
59,753 cameras. The Met also says that of all the 2,512 suspects that were
caught this year using the camera system, many of them were violent offenders.
According to police, out of that roughly 2,500 captures, four of the
suspects were wanted for suspected murder, 23 of them were rapists or sex
offenders, and five were described as wanted gunmen.
Neville did say that the modernization and growing complexity of the
CCTV system in London had raised some issues though. The system moved from VHS
tapes to digital video storage. With the move, getting the captured video takes
a specialized officer and takes longer than retrieval did in the VHS days. The
Met officer also says that the digital video isn’t kept as long as tapes were.
said, "We get high-quality images that are easily searchable but they are
often not held as long. With VHS, people held 31 tapes, one for each day of the
month, and it did not require specialist officers to get hold of the stuff.
People are now being confronted by computers and hard drives and told to get
those images and it is not as easy."