Thursday, 14 April 2011

It seems the police don't know whether CCTV works!


I raised a Freedom of Information request for information about the effectiveness of Bradford's CCTV as a means of detecting crime in the City Centre. I asked what I thought was a pretty simple question:

How many individuals have been charged with assault, robbery or other violent offences as a result of evidence from CCTV cameras within Bradford City Centre.

It seems that the police don't know the answer and, more importantly, don't intend to find out the answer! Here's part of their response:

In order to obtain the required information would involve an in-depth search of each offence to establish whether CCTV contributed to the charge. For the 2010/2011 financial year there were 308 crime records for violent offences and robbery detected by means of a charge in the Bradford City Ward. At an estimate of 5 minutes per record it would take in the region of 26 hours to conduct this search. In addition, it has been estimated that it would take a further hour to provide the total number of crimes in Bradford City ward.

Now two important points stand out here - firstly my question didn't related to City Ward (which includes much more than the City Centre itself) but to the City Centre. And secondly I asked (as a supplement to the question above) for the total number of offences recorded - the police have chosen not to respond.

 I shall follow up - perhaps by asking a question of the Bradford Council leader at full council as well as through getting the police to actually respond to the question I asked.

However, I find it surprising that the police are simply not interested in whether the very expensive investment in CCTV is of any value. Or maybe they know it's useless?


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