A lot of public money has been spent installing CCTV cameras to make us safer, but how many of them actually work? I was shocked to read in the Islington Tribune that a crime lead could not be followed up because of the ‘poor image quality’ of CCTV footage at Archway Tube station.
Aside from the privacy issues that surround CCTV, is it not a basic requirement that they should do they job they have been installed for? Recently, Havant Borough Council led a review into the 76 CCTV cameras covering their town and discovered that 32 cameras were not justifying their £3,000-a-year maintenance costs and turned them off. In Cambridgeshire, the local police have ruled that council CCTV systems ‘do not meet Home Office recognised specifications’.
It is one thing to ask for more CCTV as a palliative measure, as Catherine West did recently after the tragic murder outside Finsbury Park station, but it is another to make sure they are working to required standards. Maybe Islington Council should look at whether our CCTV cameras are capable of keeping us safe—if not, turn them off and save us some money.