Havering’s CCTV: money well spent?

An additional £250k is to be built in for investment into CCTV.”1

Smart phones and private CCTV systems make most of Havering’s CCTV network irrelevant. The 35 year old network needs a root-and-branch analysis. This won’t happen because Havering’s councillors uncritically admire CCTV.2

CCTV is thought to fight crime: does it? The Crime and Disorder sub-committee note CCTV in their reports but don’t examine its effectiveness. Consequently a thorough-going critique of the £250,000 capital investment is required.

The police and Home Office are less trusting about CCTV’s contribution to crime fighting.3

Overall, use of CCTV makes for a small, but statistically significant, reduction in crime, but this generalisation needs to be tempered by careful attention to (a) the type of crime being addressed and (b) the setting of the CCTV intervention. CCTV is more effective when directed at reducing theft of and from vehicles, while it has no impact on levels of violent crime.”4

In other words CCTV wouldn’t have prevented the tragic murder of Jodie Chesney in Harold Hill. Councillors plan investment in CCTV believing they’re fighting crime, absolutely ignoring evidence to the contrary.

CCTV is more effective when directed at reducing theft of and from vehicles,” this benefit has been overtaken by technology. Cars are more difficult to steal than 35 years ago. The Crime and Disorder Committee in their September 2018 meeting noted that:

Concern was expressed that nearly 20% of victims recorded by police were aged between 11-17, particularly around the Gooshays area – 69% of drugs were initially found by police, 20% by door staff and 10% by CCTV.5

The £250,000 is financing weapons to fight the First World War. CCTV is at a historic moment in Havering. Councillors should review CCTV to ensure that its role in 2019 hasn’t been overtaken by events. The £250,000 capital investment in CCTV should be used elsewhere. There would also be an annual revenue saving of £400,000 after a downsizing of Havering’s CCTV, which could be used to fight crime.

1 http://democracy.havering.gov.uk/documents/g6142/Public%20reports%20pack%2013th-Feb-2019%2018.30%20Cabinet.pdf?T=10 p46 para 2:3:2 capital programme.

2 https://www.havering.gov.uk/info/20096/community/534/community_safety_and_crime_prevention/4

3 http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN05624/SN05624.pdf This is a Home Office briefing for MPs. The rationale for CCTV is to be found p3 para1:1 The critique of those underpinning assumptions appear on pp4-5

4 http://library.college.police.uk/docs/what-works/What-works-briefing-effects-of-CCTV-2013.pdf p2

5 http://democracy.havering.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=140&MId=4845&Ver=4 Agenda item 3

But! The report didn’t say who’s CCTV was responsible for the 10% of drug discoveries.

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