Closed Circuit Television

CCTV camera

CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) is becoming ever - more popular within today's society. The first use of CCTV in the UK was in a London Transport train station in 1961. Since then CCTV has progressed and developed covering many different environments and uses.

CCTV is now part of our everyday lives and is an integral part of modern policing. It can be seen in all manner of shops and banks, on farms and railway stations and on the high streets of towns and cities up and down the country.

The main reason behind this proliferation of CCTV systems is its unique ability to help reduce and prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, and assist in criminal investigations. CCTV can also be extremely useful for the monitoring of building perimeters or the protection of car parks, or as an early detection of intruders.

There are, however, hidden costs and implications to CCTV that may not be immediately obvious. It must be regularly maintained, and suitably sited. Some CCTV systems may require additional lighting. It may also raise questions like whether you require a colour or black and white system, or a combination. Who is going to monitor it? Will it be recorded? Is there adequate signage of the presence of CCTV? Or, indeed, are there other options that would be more beneficial and cost effective than CCTV?

One of the first principles is that CCTV should not be relied on to be the only layer of security defence. It should form part of an overall security package, for instance, in conjunction with a monitored alarm, security personnel or staff vigilance, external response force, or internal motion detectors. Examples can be seen of very expensive yet ineffective or inappropriate systems.

Have you completed an Operational Requirement? This will be discussed later but will assist you to ensure that the system meets your needs and achieves what it was designed to do. It may be more cost efficient to liase with other businesses or partners in the immediate area and purchase and maintain a joint system. Thorough assessment of your threat needs to be completed. This may highlight your vulnerabilities and weaknesses as well as your strengths. What are your assets and areas of concern? What are you hoping to observe (people/vehicles), and what is the purpose of observation? How will you respond to the activity?

Cambridgeshire Constabulary has designed this section of the web site as a quick reference tool to the potential or current CCTV user. It aims to assist you in deciding whether CCTV would be beneficial and compliment your overall security package. It will also help you comply with the relevant legislation associated with CCTV and give you some examples of best practice on how to operate and maintain an effective CCTV system. It is not designed to be a definitive guide, but as a useful starting point, and as such, there are links towards the end of this section to other useful web sites designed to give you more detailed information on the areas covered. These sites should be researched thoroughly if you are considering purchasing a CCTV system.

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