Surveillance Camera Commissioner reveals benefits of sharing CCTV and networks, warns of dangers


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Organizations should work together to share networks and CCTV systems in order to optimize their use and save money, the UK’s Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Mr. Tony Porter, said during a recent speech.

While closed-circuit television surveillance systems are a valuable tool in preventing and deterring crime, keeping the public safe and helping the fight against terrorism across the country, public sector austerity measures will continue to affect the sector for the foreseeable future, the Commissioner argued.

He also revealed that, typically, systems are used in the same areas independently of each other, covering the same space, using different networks or fibre and for the same purpose, which is a clear waste of resources.

Mr Porter also pointed out that there seem to be clear benefits of collaboration and designing networks that work together across organisational and geographical boundaries. He commented: “In a time of austerity you could see a situation where large metropolitan cities like London or Manchester where multiple agencies could pool resources. They could brigade control rooms to reduce their number to cover an entire city. Rather than the current situation where there are numerous control rooms. This would almost certainly reduce operational costs and lead to other savings.”

The commissioner believes that greater collaboration would enable police forces to react and deal with cross border crime more efficiently and would ultimate lead to the development of a great environment to raise standards across the industry.

However, Mr Porter also pointed out that improved collaboration comes with an assortment of risks. First and foremost, with more stakeholders using and accessing the same systems is there a greater risk to an individual’s privacy. Plus, with numerous organisations working together to offer a completely integrated CCTV model it’s quite possible that it could result in blurred lines of responsibility.

Summing up, the Camera Commissioner said that a multi agency approach to CCTV provides an opportunity to review and improve systems as well as offer up savings. So, collaboration could be a way forward but it’s not without risks but they are risks that with careful consideration can be managed.

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