Homeowners should consider fitting CCTV to trap burglars, UK’s most senior police officer has declared. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said police forces needed more crime scene footage to match against their 12million images of suspects and offenders.
And he called on families and businesses to install cameras at eye level – to exploit advances in facial recognition technology.
But privacy campaigners condemned the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s suggestion. ‘The proposals on increasing the amount of privately owned CCTV cameras are quite frankly Orwellian and risk turning members of the public into an extension of the police,’ said Renate Samson of Big Brother Watch. ‘Private CCTV is completely unregulated. Recommending greater use of CCTV to gather more images of people’s faces – often innocent people’s faces – undermines the security of each and every one of us.’
Sir Bernard said most cameras were mounted high to keep them out of harm’s way and to give an overview of a crime area. He was speaking after Beverley Turner, wife of Olympic rower James Cracknell, challenged him on LBC Radio on whether CCTV could be used to catch burglars. Research from the College of Policing last week revealed CCTV only modestly cuts crimes such as vandalism and car theft and is useless in stopping violence. Experts said better street lighting and neighbourhood watch schemes were more valuable.