Violence at Work (UK)


About CCTV

If it is the right equipment for the job, is sighted in the right place and is well maintained with good house-keeping of videotapes and continuously monitored, CCTV can be a real asset to any workplace violence prevention programme - allowing simultaneous remote "viewing" of a variety of sectors of the workplace and for "informed" assignment of security personnel resources.

But - be clear about this - on its own, CCTV won't prevent violent incidents taking place!

 

CCTV is nothing like a panacea for preventing violence

High profile cases like the abduction and murder of James Bulger and the arrest of Brixton nail bomber David Copeland have demonstrated CCTV can be useful in identifying and convicting offenders. These notable successes (and others like them) have helped promulgate the notion that CCTV is practically the "Total Cure".

But, regrettably, CCTV is nothing like a panacea for preventing crime and, in particular, crimes involving violence.

 

It certainly doesn't make people in Town Centres any safer!

Home Office research report 252 (Welsh, B.C. and Farrington, D.P. 'Crime Prevention Effects of Closed Circuit Television: A Systematic Review') published in 2002, confirmed that the effectiveness of CCTV as a tool to fight crime is greatly overstated.

In the report, evaluations of 24 CCTV schemes in town centres, housing estates, public transport and car parks showed:

  • A fall in crime at thirteen of the sites

  • At seven sites the cameras seemed to have had no effect at all

  • Four sites had actually suffered significant rises in crime rates!

The report confirmed that while CCTV can help to reduce car crime in some car parks, Town Centre schemes have little impact on serious or violent crime, underlining that vulnerable areas still need to be appropriately policed and patrolled.

Councils and others thinking of investing in a CCTV scheme should seriously consider whether the money would be better spent on other more effective (and less expensive) measures.

(Note: Between 1996 and 1998, three-quarters of the Home Office crime prevention budget was spent on CCTV.)

 

Good street lighting has been shown to be four times as effective as CCTV in cutting crime

Home Office research report 252 (Welsh, B.C. and Farrington, D.P. 'Crime Prevention Effects of Closed Circuit Television: A Systematic Review') published in 2002, assessed the overall reduction in crime amounts to only five per cent, whereas a parallel systematic review carried out by the Home Office looking at the impact of street lighting found a twenty per cent reduction.

In other words, good street lighting proved to be four times as effective as CCTV in cutting crime.

(Given the choice between walking down a dark alley monitored by CCTV or having that alley adequately lit, which would you prefer?)