Value of CCTV realised post UK Riots

Following the recent riots which blighted areas of London and other English cities the true value of CCTV has been endorsed.

Alarms, bolts bars and shutters failed to halt or deter looters and rioters and proved next to useless during the onslaught of rioters. However, Police say that video will be “a big part” of their investigations into events. CCTV images provided by Councils and local traders is proving highly valuable as Police officers sift through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage in an attempt to identify those who took part in looting and rioting across England last week.

Given the positive support of the Public, Police and Parliament in the recent post riot debate, now would be a good time to review your CCTV security and make sure it is working and addressing a substantial increase in risk. It is essential to ensure your system is producing clear useable images and that the quality is commensurate with your Operational Requirement.

It is good practice to follow the Home Office Police Scientific Development Branch advice on drafting an OR document. This states that, before a suitable CCTV system can be specified, it’s essential that an initial assessment is undertaken in order to determine the system scope, objectives and requirements. You should revisit your OR document regularly.

Note that these should not be confused with the technical requirements!

Initially, it’s vital to provide answers to the following questions:

  • is the system designed to deter, prevent, detect or prosecute?
  • is it proactive, reactive – or both?
  • is the system continually manned or unmanned, and used only after an incident is reported to provide post-incident information?
  • what’s the system’s scope (i.e. prevention and detection of crime, public safety, etc)… it should be noted that this is a requirement under the Data Protection Act
  • what are the areas to be covered, and what degree of coverage is required?

BS EN 50132-7:1996 entitled ‘Alarm Systems: CCTV Surveillance Systems for Use in Security Applications – Part 7: Application Guidelines’ describes fully the steps needed to produce an ‘operational requirement’ document.

Your review audit should be carried out by a security professional with a working knowledge of your industry sector

For more information on the positive impact of CCTV and the riots visit the BBC.

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