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Feb 13 2011

Police CCTV Deterrent spotted in Park Lane

Spotted today, in Park Lane, was one of the borough’s temporary CCTV cameras.
cctv_article_1It’s well known that the police use remote controlled CCTV camera placed high up on lamp posts around the borough from time to time.  These units are portable or temporary, and typically remain installed for anywhere between a few weeks to a few months.  In the past, they’ve had excellent results around the South Harrow tube station area in deterring troublemakers from congregating there.  There’s been some debate whether these simply displace crime – and that debate continues to run.

These devices are powered from the lampost  they’re installed upon, and use the mobile phone network to relay their pictures back to a centralised control room. Capable of recording in low light levels, they can also be remotely directed and zoomed by the operator.
cctv_article_2

What’s interesting here, is that (a) I’d not have thought Park Lane attracted a regular CCTV-fearing group, and (b) being a residential area, whether there are any privacy concerns given that CCTV operators elsewhere in London have been caught zooming in on bedroom windows in the past.  Nor is it unheard of for the police to ‘make up evidence’ to encourage Councils CCTV operators to “snoop on suspected drink-drivers outside pubs”.  Of course, it’s not just the police or councils who do that sort of thing – private security groups are also known to have done exactly the same in the past. Properly used, they can be a great crime deterrent, and aid in the identification of criminals.

The pictures shown here are not of the actual camera in Park Lane, but are representative of the types of camera used in these operations. Incidentally, at only £4995 to buy, and including the first 12 months of mobile phone network usage, they seem an absolute bargain.  As with all these technological ideals, the real costs comes from paying someone minimum wage to sit and watch the images all night.

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