back to article Cops and Home Office plot uber-CCTV network

You know in the movies or on the telly, where the sinister (Bourne) or perhaps heroic (Spooks) government agents are thinking about a problem somewhere? The person in charge often barks something like "Is there any CCTV?" Some kind of minion - perhaps dressed and coiffured like a tramp to indicate technical competence - …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And will it really make a difference...

    Unlikely, we (UK) are now one of the most surveilled societies on the planet, have we made crime a thing of the past; No, Have we drastically lowered the occurance of crime; if the figures are to be believed then no not really.

    And to anyone who thinks it only affects you if you break the law then I'm afraid you are living in a dream world of fluffy animals and politicans who give a shit about you at anytime besides elections and opinion polls, which are easy enough manipulated, marketing my friends. My sister and her friend were lifted late at night and subjected to hours of interrogation because they happened to be seen walking on camera in the general area of an armed robbery, needless to say they had no idea it had even happened.

    The problem we have is that we believe criminals can be detered from crime but unfortuately that has been proved through 1000's of years of crime and punishment as a no hope cause.

    I don't have a solution of course but a widening wealth gap and a society built on greed just might exasparate the situation, but thats communist speak.... whats that noise, helicopters here....... :|

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Cameras? Just count them.

    I live just north of the City of London and in the 200 yard walk from Liverpool St to my home I have counted 54 cameras that can potentially see me as I make that journey. How many of those are REAL and not just fake boxes put up by offices and shops who knows, but that number in such a small area is frankly idiotic. I can't believer even a fraction of those are manned or viewed.

  3. Robin Message
    Dead Vulture

    Not so worried for a change

    Seriously, do you think an IT project big enough to connect all of the cameras in the country (or even a town) into one police control center is actually possible?

    It would take upwards of ten years, which just can't be driven by our current political system.

    Let's hope they don't try though, as it'll be a waste of time and money - although, useful for increasing employment I suppose.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Only an insane or naïve society....

    ....would sit quietly by whilst the infrastructure capable of supporting a future police state is constructed.

    Maybe you think that sounds paranoid.

    You might think that you can trust this government. Maybe you can.

    But can you be SURE that you can trust ALL future governments not to abuse such facilities?

    Unless you can honestly answer "yes" to that, then are you prepared to see such developments go unchallenged?

    As Pitt the Younger put it in 1770: "Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it".

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Oh FFS!

    "Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."]

    Thomas Jefferson

    Its all just pete tong really! If the great unwashed actually thought about this, realised it inst here yet despite Hollywood and considered the topic in depth rather than the usual "I've done nowt wrong, I got nothing to hide" rhetoric they would be really quite concerned.

    Fortunately for the chiefs in the Police, who salivate at the merest hint of technology that promises everything (again) rather than say actually patrolling an area and Whitehall mandarins who like the idea of anything as long as their department gets the budget to do sort it, the great unwashed wont do any thinking about it at all.

    I anticipate that the next headline will be that the national identity pork spending department will suggest that such a system be linked to their own so the "wrong" people aren't identified.

    Fortunately we can rely on the old favourite of government incompetence to defend our rights on this issue. Regardless what legislation is passed, what money is spent and who spends it, it will be 25 years before it even comes close to working and then i bet the courts would refuse to use it on the grounds that it doesn't come in the right format or something.

  6. TeeCee Gold badge

    If only....

    "It's far more normal for footsore investigators to trudge round and collect evidence by hand..."

    According to an article in the paper the other day, not so normal. Some diligent type had successfully videoed the miscreants in action with CCTV and kept the tape. No plod showed. Took the tape to the plod and got sent away with a flea in his ear. Resorting to publicising the laziness of the local constabulary produced the required response.

    Incidently, I think that "complimentary technology" must refer to those talking CCTV posts we've heard so much about recently. Presumably you can be standing on a street corner minding your own business and have one of these chirp up with "Wow, you look fantastic today" or similar.

  7. Risky
    Black Helicopters

    The only upside.... that any government IT project of this type and scale will be the usual *£$@-up. The downside is that I will have to pay my slice of the billions required to screw it up.

  8. Tawakalna
    Black Helicopters

    give it to..

    iSoft or EDS to terminally f*ck up, we'll never hear of it again, except that we'll be paying for it for decades to come.

    Question: do the State Security Commissariat (erm local Constabulary I mean) monitor themselves? do police stations have cctv inside and out in every room, are cops whatched when they're going to the sh*tter to make sure that they aren't sneaking a bit of the colombian marching powder that they've confiscated as *evidence"?

    this country's fooked: me and the Mrs are off to sunny Tuscany as soon as we retire, no more hoodie chavs or nosey coppers for us, Britain can carry on flushing itself into the third world.

  9. Red Bren
    Black Helicopters

    Who watches the watchers?

    "It isn't uncommon for "roaming" work using pan/tilt/zoom cameras to later lead to complaints because the camera could have been trained on a known troublespot the whole time but wasn't, or because it didn't record a known incident for evidence purposes."

    Especially if it shows the authorities in a bad light. Funny how the CCTV in Stockwell tube station wasn't working on that fateful day in July 2005.,,1548808,00.html

  10. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Spooky Truths ....... and a Tale already shared with Kudos.

    "Consultation has taken place with the Counter Terrorist Command of the Metropolitan Police (SO15), the Security Services [MI5, MI6 and GCHQ]... [and the] Serious and Organised Crime Agency... National security considerations prevent a detailed description of their requirements appearing in this document."

    What a very quaint way to say ..."Help, we really don't know what we should be doing"

    Spookily enough, Holywood NI has an answer or I should say more accurately, have been provided with a lot of leading questions. There are however, a lot of skeletons still over there, rattling about, and that appears to have rendered them too witless to answer. Or maybe the ether stole the questions which were only offering them HyperRadioProActivity to replace Rapid Reaction and Dumb Notices.

    AI Novel Approach with UniVersal Forces in an InterRacial Agenda with a PROMISory Key.

    Spooks may talk a good job ..... .... but they are light years behind in IT.

    I suppose that comes from following the wrong tail/string/puppet.

    Ah well, tomorrow is another day and maybe the Light will dawn on them allowing them some Sunnier NEUKlearer HyperVision.

  11. Jeremy
    Black Helicopters

    Yeah but, no but...

    Will it really ever happen? Of course not. It's just some overpaid civil servant's wet dream splashed out in PDF form.

    I mean seriously, this government can't even manage [insert failed large but fairly simple IT project of your choice here] without ballsing it up. Do you honestly think they could manage something of this scope?

    It'll never happen. Best bet, someone will spend a load more money on a feasibility study and then it'll get brushed under the carpet when they realise that they can't organise a piss-up in a brewery let alone a behemoth of a nationwide IT project.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the cameras are setup online...

    I've already worked on stuff that will link them all together into one software package, so yes, the software is easy, setting up a network infrastructure is considerably harder, but hopefully, it would mean that our internet backbone would get fixed, and then the project would fall apart and we would be left with normal CCTV and better internet.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pity the shop owners

    Soooo the police will control & use the cameras the private sector paid for. Sounds fair...

    Maybe they'd like to borrow my car from time to time as well.

  14. anthony bingham


    Sad but true ... they may however resort to putting Micro micro chips in our water supply so each one of us will produce a brilliant picture [on a cheap and chearful Chinese camera] by virtue of "resonance saturation" that is achieved within weeks of the clandestine addition ... and they taste good to !

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Its already here....

    Come visit sunny Northampton for a vision of the future, 495 (and counting) cameras are under the control of the Northampton Borough Council/Northants Police, doesn't seem to have made much difference though, there is still the muppets controlling the system.

    It has led to an interesting judicial quirk though- almost any "public" crime, leads to the police producing a grotty b/w image which is taken as 'proof' the accused has committed the offence. The judiciary accept this as positive proof of identification. The hapless accused may ask for original images, but will never get them, however many times asked(section 8 application ), and the Judges refuse to allow expert witness reports into the images as "the video image is proof and they are not wasting public money in allowing the guilty person a defence.... This has led to Northampton having one of the highest conviction rates in the country.

    But we have PA Consulting trumpeting our systems to the world ( run by cops for cops(TM)Pheonix IT + Aurora Systems ) and visiting FBI/overseas security representatives enjoying the vision of the future.... Funny thing is, hasn't made any difference to the crime rate, if anybody asks-my big brother did it

  16. Les Matthew


    I see plenty of hooded chavs on the street, but what are these "coppers" you talk about?

  17. mh.
    Thumb Down

    Too much information

    Supposing they do gather all this information (backed up by the National Database and the ANPR system). Assuming the system works correctly, there's going to be a lot of close matches and false (positive or negative) matches. Essentially they're building a real life version of those Where's Wally books. Not wise for an outfit that can't even find weapons of mass destruction in a mostly deserted country.

    At the moment the system is mainly being used against "bad" people such as chavs or terrorists who generally can't get the best lawyers. However a better lawyer could bring the courts (or tribunals) to a halt by demanding that the prosecution can prove that the person in the dock really is the person appearing on some rather fuzzy film that may have been tampered with. This would mean some poor soul having to sit down and watch possibly hundreds of hours of footage. It might be possible to do this for a couple of major cases, but it wouldn't work too well if every shoplifter up before the magistrates' courts demanded this to happen with their case.

    I think one of the main problems is that the govt wants to show how hi-tech they are, and certain consultancy firms (see the announcement about suppliers for the national database published today) don't want to disappoint them. The ministers making the decisions don't generally have much experience of IT project management (do any of them have qualifications in things like PRINCE2 or ITIL?) or even using a computer above more than a bit of basic email or word processing. The systems are inherently flawed and can never work, but the politicians don't really understand what they're asking for (take Blunkett and his biometrics for example) and the technical information tends to be filtered through sales and marketing people who tend to gloss over the shortcomings.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    The real story

    Read "The Concrete Jungle" by Charles Stross to find out what the cameras are really for. Surveillance... pah!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't know what I am more disappointed, or blinded with rage. I'm going to beat the tossers who wrote this report with my copy of Nineteen-eightyfour.

    If people don't think that these systems are misused, just sit in a high street and watch the cameras that are slightly obscured (the ones in the black hemisphere) follow the pretty women up and down.

  20. Anonymous Coward


    "Consultation has taken place with the Counter Terrorist Command of the Metropolitan Police (SO15), the Security Services [MI5, MI6 and GCHQ]... [and the] Serious and Organised Crime Agency..."

    But the citizens must never be consulted. National Security don't you know. Besides, they'd only panic - bless.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    This is just the beginning!!

    Sure, most CCTVs are currently low quality and not networked. But it's only a matter of time before we have internet-ready super HD quality cameras with integrated facial recognition and behavioural analysis features. Cameras will also be outfitted with high-powered directional microphones with voice recognition capabilities and semantical analysis. They'll be able to cross-link with a number of other databases (e.g. Oyster card readers) to augment the recognition rate of people. You go out of line, you'd be instantly flagged as suspicious. Orwell, eat your heart out, he's a sissy by these standards.

    All these technologies are already here TODAY. They are currently being trialed all over the place. No joke. It's just a matter of time before they are cheap enough to be ubiquitous.

    Realise how exponentially computers have progressed in the last 20 years. Now try to imagine would will be possible with the future generations of CCTVs in 10 years time. If we let governments put these infrastructures in place today, who can tell what monstrosity will be monitoring our every breath in the future.

  22. kain preacher

    be done with it

    WHy don't you folks just implant and explosive micro chip at the base of every one's neck. Commit crime boom your gone, wait no death penitly

    in the UK. Ok just use an electrically charged chip and zap them till the coppers show up.

  23. Brett

    The biggest problem is not catching the crooks...

    It is jailing them. If everone who committed a crime got locked up with a "tough on crime zero tollerance" sentance there jails could not cope. The government could not fund enough jails, or judicary time for that matter.

    So in the end minor crims will be a slap on the wrist. Mid level crimes will be a few months. And Serious crimes will be life with people calling for the death penalty as life "is a waste of our tax dollars".

    What that means is we will be like china. Lots of petty crime but little major crime. End the end you will still get the shit kicked out of you by gansta wanabes. Terrorist will still blow stuff up as its impossible to stop someone who is willing to trade their life for yours.

    And of course false positives will not be properly looked at because in the whole law enfocement system no one will have the balls to say we have screwed over 1000's of people.

    Waste of time, money, effort and peoples lives.

  24. mantrogo
    Paris Hilton

    From the Pedantry Department

    The panopticon is not 'Orwellian', it's 'Bentham-ian' (ahem). Jeremy Bentham cooked up the idea of the panopticon, the ultimate efficient jail where many thousands of prisoners could be controlled by a minimum of warders. To do this all prisoners would 24x7 be able to be seen and covertly surveilled by the warders, with any infractions of rules being dealt with ... harshly. Because the prisoners would never know when they were being surveilled and the punishments so harsh, they would behave at all times.

    Clearly, while a darn clever chap, rather ironically given he spent his time musing on matters philosophical about mankind and society he knew jack sh*t about human nature...

  25. LittleTyke

    A New Proposal for Governing Britain

    Might I suggest that readers do a Google for "A New Proposal for Governing Britain", which makes for very interesting reading. But this is hghly confidential, so DON'T TELL ANYONE!!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prevention better than cure

    If the effing police would start walking the beat we wouldn't have gangs of 20 or more teeny boppers building up, so there wouldn't be crimes like this because they would have probably nipped it in the bud.

    However, because some kid with an MBA (or was it a wanker from the IPPR) realized that coppers on the beat didn't 'detect' many crimes the fuckwit politicos decided to do away with them, so we're lumbered with the situation where the filth have handed over the streets to anyone (well, not people exercising their democratic right to protest of course) who can be bothered to occupy them. That means gangs of fuckwit kids. Who are untouchable because they've got human rights and the bobbies will prosecute anyone who stands up to them.

    Meanwhile the poxy civil servants are wanking about with CCTV so we can watch videos of pensioners getting mugged, when the object of the exercise is to make the streets safe. If a mugger or a gang of kids is always worried there might be a cop round the next corner, they'll be a lot more careful.

  27. Jason

    Re:If the cameras are setup online...

    We can all use Google hacks to watch each other!

This topic is closed for new posts.