London’s CCTV network is a waste of cash

£200 million and can’t solve crime
By Nick Farrell 

LONDON’S 10,000 crime-fighting CCTV network, which costs £200 million, might as well be cardboard boxes on the end of sticks.

According to an analysis of London’s publicly funded spy network, the whole shebang is hopeless at helping coppers solve crime. Coppers were no more likely to catch offenders in areas with hundreds of cameras than in those with hardly any, the analysis says.

Four out of five of the boroughs with the most cameras have a record of solving crime that is below average. The figures were obtained by the Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly using the Freedom of Information Act.

The Lib-dems say that the money would not have been better spent on more police officers.

There are now 10,524 CCTV cameras in 32 London boroughs funded with Home Office grants totaling at about £200million.

Hackney has the most cameras and has a better-than-average clearup rate of 22.2 per cent. Wandsworth, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, and Lewisham which have loads of cameras fail to reach the average 21 per cent crime clear-up rate for London.

Kensington and Chelsea, Sutton and Waltham Forest have less than 100 cameras each yet they still have clear-up rates of around 20 per cent.

It is not clear if the CCTV cameras help to deter crime. But that function could be simulated by sticking an empty box on a pole. Street lighting has been shown to be a more effective deterrent to crime, according to the charity Nacro.

It seems that the cameras are hardly looked at when a crime is reported. London coppers are apparently going to get a bit more training on their use.