Articles | Information |
Security Camera | Surveillance Equipment | CCTV Camera |
Security Camera | Surveillance Cameras | Dome Camera
Source & Copyright: www.cla.asn.au/0805/index.php/articles/2009/cctv-system-wastes-most-of-6m-says-cla
wastes most of $6m, says CLA
Article posted on Tuesday 14 April 2009
Spending $6m on pretending CCTV in WA will prevent crime, or
even cost-effectively catch criminals after crime, is nothing
more than PR spin, CLA CEO Bill Rowlings says. Even in the UK,
with the world's biggest CCTV systems, the technology is a
massive failure, which senior Metropolitan Police acknowledge
WA about to waste $6m on CCTV
WA is about to waste most of $6m introducing a ‘big brother’
CCTV system statewide that won’t work...just like the system at
Sydney Airport didn’t work when a bikie gang allegedly killed a
man there last month.
“This is a con trick on the WA public,” said Civil Liberties
Australia’s CEO, Bill Rowlings.
According to the media release of WA Police Minister Rob
Johnson: “A new CCTV register system will allow WA Police to
better monitor and fight anti-social behaviour across Western
He claims police will watch live vision from CCTV cameras across
the State, “which could allow them to act faster when an
incident arises,” as his media release says.
“Any suggestion that CCTV will actively fight anti-social
behaviour is a beat-up, and a triumph of PR spin over
experience, ” Mr Rowlings said today.
“CCTV systems do not prevent crime. Even after a crime, CCTV
systems produce extremely poor results, according to world
The head of the Visual Images, Identifications and Detections
Office (Video) at New Scotland Yard, Detective Chief Inspector
Mick Neville, said last year that massive investment in CCTV
cameras to prevent crime in the UK had failed to have a
significant impact, despite billions of pounds spent on the new
Only 3% of crimes in London were solved using CCTV images, even
though Britain has more security cameras than any other country
“Use of CCTV images for court evidence has so far been very
poor,” said DCI Neville, the officer in charge of the
Metropolitan Police’s CCTV unit.
"CCTV was originally seen as a preventative measure," DCI
Neville told the Security Document World Conference in London.
"Billions of pounds has been spent on kit, but no thought has
gone into how the police are going to use the images and how
they will be used in court.
“It's been an utter fiasco: only 3% of crimes were solved by
CCTV. There's no fear of CCTV. Why don't people fear it? [They
think] the cameras are not working," DCI Neville said.
And, if Sydney Airport is anything to go by in Australia, the
cameras won’t be working in WA, Mr Rowlings said.
“What chance is there that cameras in remote Meekatharra will be
repaired by a competent camera technician every time a sandstorm
blows through, or there’s an electricity spike?” Mr Rowlings
Police Minister Johnson claims ‘blue iris’ will watch people at
large public events like New Year’s Eve and Australia Day
Skyworks. “Blue Iris will be a valuable tool to police
operations and crime prevention across WA,” Mr Johnson said.
“That bit about ‘crime prevention’ is pure, unadulterated PR
spin,” said Mr Rowlings.
“Statistics, studies and real-life examples throughout Australia
and the world show CCTV will cost heaps, but produce virtually
no practical results. If it succeeds in cutting down on minor
property crime, it will do even that limited job only within a
dozen metres or so of a camera location,” he said.
“Mr Johnson and the police owe it to the people of WA to tell
the truth…not fibs,” Mr Rowlings said.
Mr Johnson said the State Government had “committed $6m to the
Community Crime Prevention Program, of which Blue Iris was a
main component”. The project is a joint initiative between the
WA Police Traffic and Operations Portfolio and the Office of
“Mr Johnson and the police may just as well have bought $6m
worth of beer bottles, and smashed 95% of them…because the
cameras and the system will not prevent crime,” Mr Rowlings
“Police claim they watch 596 cameras now ‘across the state’,
according to their media statements. They will soon have 1500
more cameras to watch...and later this year the number will rise
to 5000 cameras or more throughout WA, if their media release
can be believed,” he said.
“There is no way with current camera and software technology and
lack of high-speed broadband links statewide that real-time
monitoring of all these CCTV locations is a possibility. And, if
real-time monitoring is not possible, there can be no crime
“For media releases to claim that CCTV will prevent crime is
thoroughly irresponsible,” Mr Rowlings said.
Even to properly utilise CCTV vision after a crime would create
a need for 20-30 more police officers, and there has been no
mention of increased staffing. The more cameras, the more police
are needed for just plain ‘mechanical’ tasks around verifying
and assembling evidence suitable for a court, Mr Rowlings said.
“You need people watching all the vision of interest that has
been recorded, and logging and filing tapes and disks in a way
they can be readily accessed where and when needed.
“In the majority of cases, you need to re-format the vision to
match police systems…and the re-formating degrades the quality
“Where are the WA Police going to get the budget allocation for
dozens more people for CCTV work?
“In the UK, worldwide home of CCTV surveillance, they are
closing down camera systems because having operators watch them
is too expensive. Cash-strapped centres – such as Worcester and
the Cotswold District Council’s Cirencester – are cancelling
camera contracts or cutting back on coverage.
“In Dorset, they’ve advertised for unpaid volunteers to monitor
live images from street cameras three days a week because they
can’t afford trained pros to keep watch.”
Mr Rowlings said the reality was that a handful of miscreant
police officers, being punished for internal offences ranging
from petty errors to whistleblowing, would be the ones mainly
monitoring and working with any WA CCTV systems.
“That’s how police CCTV works,” he said. “CCTV is normally a
‘punishment’ for officers…it’s considered a menial duty, not
where the real action is.”