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CCTV image of a pickpocket  (Source: Evening Standard)
The use of CCTVs continues to be a hot political debate in the U.K.

The city of London has more than 10,000 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras deployed around the city, but the use of the controversial technology does not help solve crime, according to several local politicians.

All cameras installed in London cost taxpayers an estimated £200 million -- approximately $400M USD -- with politicians arguing the city has to re-evaluate the way they are used.  According to research provided by the British Liberal Democrats political party, the city districts with the most CCTV cameras also have the worst rates of solved crimes.

"Our figures show that there is no link between a high number of CCTV cameras and a better crime clear-up rate," said Dee Doocey, Liberal Democrats spokesperson.  "Boroughs with thousands of CCTV cameras are no better at doing so than those which have a few dozen."

Numbers provided by Doocey indicate only one in five crimes are solved in all London boroughs.

London's Scotland Yard is implementing several new procedures to try to improve the effectiveness of the 10,000 CCTVs in place in all 32 London boroughs.  

"Although CCTV has its place, it is not the only solution in preventing or detecting crime."

The United Kingdom currently leads the rest of Europe in number of CCTVs in use, with more than one million already in use.  The technology has drawn a lot of criticism from some politicians and privacy advocates in the U.K.

A quick Google News search for "CCTV" will indicate a number of British news stories that show how CCTV evidence is being used in criminal cases against suspects.  For example, CCTV several school children were caught brandishing an AK-47 on a train station platform.  The CCTV cameras also helped police identify London tube-train bombing suspects after the July 7, 2005 attack.

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RE: Worked for me
By FITCamaro on 9/24/2007 11:18:47 AM , Rating: 2
Face recognition software would be fantastic. You see a crime being committed. You say "computer, who is that?" and the computer matches the face with its records and returns "whodunnit".

Exactly. But at least here in the US, privacy groups will complain that .0000001% of the time it'll be used to track someone who hasn't done anything wrong. So it'll likely never happen.

Me personally I'm for the system that, if face recognition technology was used, and someone who's face was clearly captured and couldn't be identified in a national database, that person would be investigated.

Now normally it would just amount to someone's appearance changing over time (which is why I'm also for being required to get a new picture taken every 5 years at least) but for cases like illegal immigrants, we could easily see where they are. That way state governments can't use the excuse of "we can't find them to deport them" as an excuse.

RE: Worked for me
By Spivonious on 9/24/2007 11:24:42 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know about tracking unknowns, as that could easily be abused.

We do get photos updated regularly: drivers licenses.

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