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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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By Misty Dingos on 9/24/2007 4:10:53 PM , Rating: 2
With any case of self defense (that ends in death or injury) comes the reality that you can, and in some cases should be, prosecuted for a crime.

Carrying a weapon for self defense is not a trivial or knee jerk reaction. Even if you don't face prosecution for the act it self you may be sued civilly by interested parties. Family members of the dearly departed criminal spring to mind. All the while you are making it possible for a lawyer’s kid to go to a better college. Not a win, win situation. But better than the alternative of taking a dirt nap.

These are the realities. And I am aware of them. Which is why, even though I carry a gun, you should never shoot someone who is not a threat to you or someone in you care.

In my case that means if the guy is 5'2" and has a stick I might pull the gun to make him go away but the chances of me pulling the trigger are vanishingly small. If the guy is drooling at the mouth and has a baseball bat I am going to empty the magazine into him.

Camera or no camera I can not base my decision to use self defense on them. And I still think that with very few exceptions I would rather pay for a policeman rather than a camera.

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