8.4.2 CCTV effectiveness and Context
When the Government funded the massive growth in CCTV across the UK there was no body of research to justify and guide the implementation of CCTV. Subsequently the effectiveness of CCTV across a number of contexts has been explored and research has started to establish an evidence base for where and how CCTV can be effective. You’ve been framed – CCTV could reduce crime by deterring potential offenders who will not want to be observed by CCTV operators or have evidence against them captured on camera. Perpetrators may be detected and removed; CCTV may deter potential offenders who perceive an increased risk of detection; CCTV may direct security personnel to locations where precursors to offending have been detected, which may head off their translation into crime and reduce the severity of harm; CCTV could symbolise efforts to take crime seriously, and the perception of those efforts may both energise law abiding citizens and/or deter crime. The presence of CCTV may induce people to take elementary precautions, for fear that they will be shamed by being shown on CCTV.(Sivarajasingam et al, 2003: 315).
The mechanisms outlined above highlight the potential problems of using recorded crimes rates to evaluate the impact of CCTV as the different mechanisms can have conflicting effects on crime rates. CCTV can work on a number of different levels across a range of different contexts and this has resulted in mixed research findings in terms of CCTV effectiveness. The research identified that CCTV had little or no effect on violent crime but the authors advocated the need for more high quality research that ‘established the causal mechanism by which CCTV has any effect on crime’ which should involve methodologically rigorous evaluations and interviewing offenders. A further meta-analysis of CCTV studies conducted in 2008 by Walsh and Farrington the confirmed earlier findings that CCTV was effective in car parks and they advocated narrowing the use of CCTV to reflect research findings related to its effectiveness. The Home Office’s National Evaluation of CCTV attempted to address some of the deficiencies identified in previous CCTV evaluations by combining a process and impact evaluation that incorporated control areas and identified other crime control initiatives that were operating in the target area to evaluate their impact on recorded crime levels.
Research has found mixed results regarding the effectiveness of CCTV but what has emerged is a body of literature that has started to identify the specific context where CCTV works and types of mechanisms that need to be in place. Most evaluations of CCTV in town/city centres have used recorded crime and found that cameras had very little impact on violent crime but through the use of accident and emergency data Sivarajasingam et al found that the ‘effectiveness of CCTV lies less in preventing assaults and their precursor, but more in preventing injury through increased police detection and intervention’. There was no evidence of the deterrent effect of CCTV in relation to violent crime but the effectiveness of CCTV within this context is related to surveillance facilitating a faster police response that limits the length of violent incidents and therefore the severity of injuries. Research into public space CCTV has identified similar patterns and indicated that CCTV impacts more on premeditated crimes.
CCTV System overview 2.1 The CCTV system is owned by the University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG2 2RD and managed by the University and its appointed agents. Under the Data Protection Act 1998 the University of Nottingham is the ‘data controller’ for the images produced by the CCTV system. 2.3 The CCTV system operates across the University’s academic, administrative and residential sites. Pdf University of Nottingham CCTV Policy 1 within buildings and externally in vulnerable public facing areas. Purposes of the CCTV system 3.1 The principal purposes of the University’s CCTV system are as follows: – for the prevention, reduction, detection and investigation of crime and other incidents; – to ensure the safety of staff, students and visitors; – to assist in the investigation of suspected breaches of University regulations by staff or students; and – the monitoring and enforcement of traffic related matters. 3.2 The CCTV system will be used to observe the University’s campuses and areas under surveillance in order to identify incidents requiring a response. 3.3 The University seeks to operate its CCTV system in a manner that is consistent with respect for the individual’s privacy. University of Nottingham CCTV Policy 2 4.2 Images are recorded centrally on servers located securely in the University of Nottingham Data Centre and are viewable in Security Service areas by all Security staff. 4.4 All images recorded by the CCTV System remain the property and copyright of the University.
Compliance with Data Protection Legislation 5.1 In its administration of its CCTV system, the University complies with the Data Protection Act 1998. University of Nottingham CCTV Policy 2 6.7 Where a suspicion of misconduct arises and at the formal request of the Investigating Officer or HR Manager/Advisor, the Head of Security may provide access to CCTV images for use in staff disciplinary cases. Monitoring Compliance 9.1 All staff involved in the operation of the University’s CCTV System will be made aware of this policy and will only be authorised to use the CCTV System in a way that is consistent with the purposes and procedures contained therein.