back to article Portsmouth gets crime-predicting CCTV

If you’re planning a rowdy night out in Portsmouth soon, then be careful what you get mixed up in. Because the city’s installed Minority Report-style CCTV cameras able to predict crimes before they’ve happened. Well, kind of. Local Portsmouth paper The News reported this week that the cameras are linked to systems running …


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  1. Simon C
    Paris Hilton

    What I fail to understand is...

    In this country we have supposedly the most cctv cameras per square mile (or someother tangible measurement) in the world.

    Yet with crime in cctv ridden areas, it would appear they certainly dont work as deterrents. Oh actually they might stop me from lifting a TV straight out of Curry's, but then again the law actually deters me as well.

    Anyway, I digress...If these eye's in the sky do nothing to deter the crime, then perhaps, just perhaps they could give a good picture.

    Nope, often on crimewatch we see the grainy and somewhat indistinguishible pictures as caputured by CCTV cameras. Oh and not only that but the perps are wearing hoods and blatently avoiding that ruse.

    So which leads me to ask...


    They dont deter crime

    They dont record the crime (reliably)

    Even when someone is caught on camera some shift f*cking lawer gets em off with minimal fuss, or gets the tape dismissed as evidence because it infringies the culprits human rights and as no express permission was granted the face must be distorted.

    So like I say , CCTV..worth it?

    Paris, because lets face it, at least she has some frickin use.

  2. Mad Dave

    I wonder what the system triggers will be?

    Is the subject Asian? Check.

    Is the subject carrying a rucksack ? Check

    Are they displaying signs of independent thoughts? Check


  3. Robert Hill

    What would it make...

    What would this type of camera make of Improv Everywhere do you think???

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Minority Report comes to South-West England

    You know where Portsmouth is, right?

  5. LordLethis

    Thought crime

    Are we there yet?

  6. Sooty


    "a gang of youths drinking outside a newsagents"

    not so much predicting crime then, as recording it and sending the police, aren't all cctv cameras meant to work like that.

  7. ThinkingOutLoud
    Paris Hilton

    Camera operators...

    ...are more likely to be giggling over the drunken shagging at the back of the shops' delivery bays. That's where I'd be given the chance. Make love, not war... If Paris, with even more energy!

  8. Anonymous Coward

    "many more scenes are being watched than is normally possible"

    ... does it give the operators more eyes?

  9. Hollerith


    "Jason Fazackarley, a Portsmouth Councillor, likened the system to a modern-day night-watchman, but one that never blinks or takes a break"

    Yes, that's what we yearn for, Mr Fazackarley, pitilessly unending surveillance of our ordinary lives.

  10. Mike Richards Silver badge

    South West England?

    Presumably this a version of the South West which encompasses everything West of Reading and South of Birmingham?

  11. Gildas


    if you are a Brazilian electrician and are caught on camera going about you business then Plod are automatically alerted, roll up armed to the teeth and pump half dozen rounds into your head.

    You have to give it to Orwell, he was only out by 24 years and that's not bad in the old Guessing What The Future Will Be Like business.

  12. neil


    So smuff gets 'intelligent' cctv, great, now all the skate-bait will have to go to Turk-town to work!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: I wonder what the system triggers will be?

    Getting out a camera and taking a photo of the high street should suffice.

  14. Funky Dennis

    What the council fails to understand

    is that Computer Vision is shit. Systems like this never work. The false alarms will piss off the operators so much that they will disable the software.

  15. Dave Bell

    I'm guessing, but...

    ...this is going to be pretty crude.

    Run through the field of view of a camera, and the images will get shown to a human.

    Move slowly, and maybe no alarm.

  16. Jeff Deacon

    Re: South West England

    Don't be too hard on the hacks at ElReg. It takes a bit of getting used to, this EU Regions lark instead of the former English counties.

    As it happens the boundary between South East and South West runs up the western edge of the area formerly known as Hampshire, and then western edge of what was known as Oxfordshire. But Mike is right, the areas formerly known as Wiltshire and Dorset are now part of South West.

    Just as a quiz for those who think its easy, which region has the area formerly known as Essex within its borders? Just as a clue, London is an EU Region to itself.

  17. Karl Lattimer

    Sounds a bit like, no infact smells a bit like... bullshit?

    "These could range from a gang of youths drinking outside a newsagents"

    implies AI that can discern the difference between pepsi and coke!

    Unless it's possible to spot what they are drinking, this kind of behaviour is nothing more than a thought crime, waiting to be thought...

  18. Andy Hards
    Black Helicopters

    It will stop junkies loitering.

    And hopefully speed the dealers up a bit. "yeah, on me way bruv, there in ten."

    Cameras are much more likely to stop people loitering and get the Dibble out to see what they are up to, which in my experience is usually not a lot of good. And then if they catch them with drugs they can nick them and lock em up for a couple of hours. That'll learn em!

  19. Dale Harrison
    Black Helicopters

    You need to start to worry when....

    ... they add machine guns to the top of the CCTV camera.

    Camera thinks; "Hmmm, those youths look dodgy." BADABADABADABADABADA!!

    Sorted! Next case.

    "Hmmm, what's that woman hiding in that pram-like structure? Probably a bomb"


    Yeah right, she was going to ram tescos or something.

    I hate all this security crap.

  20. David Emmett

    What's the point?

    The point is to make people FEEL safer. To give Joe and Janet Public the idea that Something Is Being Done. The fact that they are about as much use as a Microsoft marketing bod at a computer security convention is neither here nor there. Their primary purpose is to soothe the tempers of the Daily Mail-reading masses, rather than prevent crime.

  21. ElFatbob


    another example of the gravy-train being operated by some faceless IT/softwarians.

    'This (huge database* / starwars software*) will (cut crime* / reduce greenhouse gasses* / stop terrorism*) - trust us'

    *delete / insert as appropriate

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Anyone remember voting for this shit?

    in a time of shrinking economy and massive public sector employment I am sure the good people of Portsmouth look forward to the increase in their council tax to pay for this nonsense. Are anymore police going to be made available to deal with these crimes in the making? will response times be improved in emergancies or will we still be in the situation of there being more kudos in solving a murder than preventing it?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    CCTV is handy ..

    Why only this week ... it spotted three policemen (allegedly) beating seven shades out of a soldier who had (coincidentally) just had a conviction for resisting arrest overturned by the high court ...

    Revenge beating, surely not. And anyway, this sort of thing won't happen in the future, police beating will become a thing of the past, because we're giving them all tasers ...

    paris .. because she probably been on more CCTV than most.

  24. Mark Barratt
    Thumb Up

    Another win for AI

    This just reinforces what I tell all young or would-be programmers: Get into AI. Why waste your time on time-constrained projects with inflexible targets? And when you succeed, they tell you that the project is completed and you're being laid off.

    These are never a problem in AI. Your objective is a system which mimics intelligence. Well, if you think about it, a flashing LED mimics intelligence, to some degree. What is required is some specified DEGREE of "intelligence". There is, of course, no objective way of specifying this, so the programmer's interpretation is as good as anyone else's. This also relieves you of those time constraints, since you can rewrite the specification to suit the deadline.

    Of course, there's still the possibility of completing the project (customer finally realises they've been had) and finding yourself out of work, but there'll always be a market for experienced AI programmers as long as there are successful salesman and gullible politicians.

  25. Chris G Silver badge

    The best place

    To use this technology is in council and government offices and chambers,so that we the public that pay for them can see they are doing their best for us and not cooking up dodgy deals with crooked businessmen.

    Also we could put cameras in the meetings of chief police officers, after all if they are doing nothing wrong they have nothing to hide!

  26. Gulfie

    @Mad Dave

    Surely they'll be displaying signs of brainwashing, not independent thought!

    If these people were capable of independent thought then they would be far less likely to bomb, understanding instead that violence achieves nothing beyond the initial shock and damage. Integrating with, and contributing to, the indiginous culture is far more productive - for everybody.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well, the couple at number sixteen have started shagging with the curtains open. Better zoom in on that and start recording.

    Hey, it's software mimicing human operators after all.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    As a Portsmouth council tax payer...

    1. Residents of Portsmouth were not offered a vote on this intrusive idea.

    2. There aren't any police available to follow up on anything 'noticed' by this system - try reporting a non 'serious' (i.e. murder) crime and watch the astounding lack of response. I haven't seem a police officer outside a car for years.

    3. The word 'reporting' next to The News should be in inverted commas as the local litter tray liner is not renowned for the accuracy, or indeed reality of it's reporting.

    4. This is an outrageous waste of my council tax on a par with the 'Penis of Portsmouth' (aka The Spinnaker Tower)

    What a f'n stupid waste of time and money.

  29. Paul Hurst


    Excerpt 1:

    "However, the cameras aren’t autonomous and simply alert a CCTV operator to a potential crime in the making. From then on it’s up to the operator to decide if they want to call the boys in blue."

    Excerpt 2:

    "likened the system to a modern-day night-watchman, but one that never blinks or takes a break."

    Combined + Truth:

    likened the system to a modern-day night-watchman, but one that never blinks or takes a break, that simply alerts the classic-day night-watchman that BLINKS and TAKES BREAKS!

    As with all other cameras, if no-ones watching, nothing is seen!


    "modern-day night-watchman" so like a modern-night-watchman

  30. Law

    RE: Anyone remember voting for this shit?

    It could be worse - you could be living in the surrounding area's of Manchester - that loverly expensive and useless congestion charge idea will be forced through somehow, and if you look at the ring, Stockport and a few other town area's round about will basically be charged for doing nothing more than going to a supermarket in their own town center.... ok, so it's a shite Tesco, but still... it's not like they are even close to crossing into manchester.... might just move back down to Portsmouth anyway, their council works 10 times harder and for less tax per month than Stockport ever could....

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