Editor’s view: Crime survey indicates need for more and better CCTV

The news from the British Crime Survey is generally good. There was a time when the BCS report was hailed as an opportunity to chide the police for failing to record crime statistics properly but those days seem to be on the wane.

And the public clearly feels that something is working, as the number of people who say the police and councils are doing a good job has increased from 52% last year to 57%. And only a tenth of the population say they are “highly worried” about crime.

But worryingly, street robbery is on the increase. Perhaps driven by improvements to home and business security, criminals are turning to softer targets.

Part of the answer to street robbery is more police but police can’t be everywhere, so we also need more CCTV.

CCTV is not a deterrent, it’s an investigative tool. Identifications from CCTV help solve more crimes, reduce the amount of time that police have to spend on individual cases, enhance the chances of a guilty plea and save time in court.

Ultimately it makes us safer by taking criminals off the street.

98% of CCTV cameras in the UK are privately owned. Out of 1.85 million cameras, approximately 35,000 are operated by police or local government.

More CCTV cameras and better quality images would be an enormous help to the police, so as I said in my comment on 17 January, the government should encourage businesses to install better CCTV.

The security industry has done an excellent job helping the police cut business and household crime — now let’s see what we can do to tackle street robbery.

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