We asked Derek Maltby, Managing Director of the independent security consultancy Global MSC Security, to offer his thoughts on some of the questions asked in icomply’s survey for control room managers and operators, ‘How effective is CCTV?’

Do the police inform control rooms of evidence captured?

“One of the big bugbears of people running CCTV operations is that they  rarely get any feedback, even though some of the offences they have captured are quite serious.  With ‘not guilty’ pleas, the evidence is challenged in court and the control room staff may be aware of what’s happening.  But with ‘guilty’ pleas, the information goes underground and doesn’t get fed back to those who’d like to know the results of their efforts.

Most of the CCTV sites that we have visited are not informed of the results of any court cases by the police as, generally, the police don’t know the results themselves.  If guilty pleas are made by the person who is arrested, then the evidence isn’t challenged, the CCTV evidence isn’t used, and the person is found guilty.  I think control rooms would like to know what an offender is found guilty of, as they may be charged with a number of offences.

But when everyone is cutting costs, why would the police put another process to inform others of the outcome of a court case?  Perhaps the answer is to have something trigger in the GUI to say when the court date is and what the result is.  There has to be a way to speed up the process – somebody knows what the result is.  People have criminal records, of course, and those are updated by someone.  Control rooms need something that will send a message to some authorised person, so that they can cascade that result.

Operators are like any witnesses.  If someone witnesses a crime in a street and make a statement, they would be interested to know what happens.  They’ve done their duty to help uphold the law, and it’s just human nature that you want to know what happens.  The same applies with operators – it can be disillusioning to never find out the result of the court case.   I’m not sure if the National CCTV Strategy that was published five years ago addressed those issues.  There’s so many things that could make CCTV more effective, and providing feedback that what you’ve reported is worthwhile would make a significant impact.”

Do control rooms charge insurance companies?

“We recommend to our clients that they should charge for the information they’re providing.  A lot of control rooms will just charge £10 as a subject access request, but the information is obtained on a very expensive system.  Why aren’t insurance companies contributing towards the costs of this?  The nominal £10 charge doesn’t go towards offsetting any of the associated costs of getting the recording, so that’s something that public space CCTV should attempt to recoup.”

If you’d like to take icomply’s survey to win 12 bottles of wine worth over £100, please visit our survey.  Prize draw closes 7/12/12.

See more of the interview with Derek Maltby talking about the Global MSC Security Seminar 2012 in Leeds on icomply’s YouTube channel.

In part 2 of the interview, Derek answers the following questions:

  • Is national CCTV very effective in capturing criminal incidents?
  • Is CCTV a strong deterrent?
  • Is government funding the key to improving CCTV?