Eyes everywhere but no-one’s seeing anything

There was an interesting story on the BBC News website yesterday which says that with over a million CCTV surveillance cameras in London, only one in a thousand actually helps solve a crime.

The Opposition have been quick to point fingers – shadow home secretary David Davis MP has said that “CCTV leads to massive expense and minimum effectiveness.” (Not something his party were renowned for saying when CCTV was hailed as the way forward in a (Conservative) Government report in 1994. Is he admitting the Tories got it wrong back then?)

The police have been measured in their response. Although they point to the help that CCTV has given in murder investigations (in over 70% of cases), they admit that better use could be made of the information gathered.

But the silliest response came from the Home Office, which said that CCTV cameras “help communities feel safer”. If they’re not helping the police catch criminals, then isn’t that simply lulling communities into a false sense of security?