The United Kingdom is said to be the most observed nation in the world and, therefore, it is branded as “the Big brother nation” . Statistics shows that there is at least one CCTV camera for every thirty two people in the United Kingdom . A closed circuit television (CCTV) is the use of video cameras to transmit live video feed or image data to a particular place with a set of monitors that are scrutinized on a regular basis by trained staff for the purpose of surveillance.
There are over 4.5 million CCTV cameras in the United Kingdom and the figure is on the rise with each day . Most of these cameras are used indoors and are owned by private individuals . The rest are owned and operated by the local authority to observe public zones . The use of CCTV for the purposes of surveillance and for boosting security has improved lately . The increased use can be attributed to an increase in acts of terror on the United Kingdom soil. The use of CCTV in the United Kingdom is a significant measure to ensure public protection.
First, many criminals commit crime because they presume that when they are committing a crime there is nobody who is observing them or their acts of crime . This presumption gives them the drive to commit a crime because they are sure the law will not catch up. In addition to this, the fact that nobody sees them when they are committing a crime, means that any legal proceedings meant to prosecute them is likely to fail due to lack of witnesses . The wrongdoers can also plant misleading evidence to throw the investigators of the crime out of track. The setting up of CCTV cameras in the locations where the incidence of criminal activities is high acts as a deterrent to these criminal activities.
A study by the University of Cambridge revealed that the installation of CCTV cameras at various public zones reduced the crime rates at these locations by as much as 7% . Following this realization of this fact, more residents in the United Kingdom are installing CCTV cameras on their premises. The CCTV cameras in turn help to lower the incidence of burglary in the homes. The criminals dread committing crime because the CCTV cameras may document their actions on tape. In addition to this, their identity can be established through the retrieval and technical analysis of the recorded data. The documented evidence is then used against them in a legal proceeding in court leading to a successful prosecution. All these factors act to discourage the law offenders from committing criminal acts hence CCTV cameras help to reduce crime in the United Kingdom.
Secondly, the CCTV cameras that are installed in many locations, in the United Kingdom document evidence of a crime being committed . The prosecution of crime fails to take off when there is no substantial evidence or when there is only circumstantial evidence . The installed CCTV cameras solve this problem by keeping a record of the details of the crime, and this will help in the prosecution. For instance, CCTV footage was instrumental in the solving of the homicide case of a two year old James Bulger. Unknown people kidnapped the young boy during a shopping spree with his mother at a shopping mall in England. When the mother diverted her attention for a short while, James was hastily whisked away by two juvenile boys of an approximate age of ten years.
They seized him from a shopping mall and eventually killed him at a location close to the cemetery. The surveillance CCTV cameras in the mall logged the entire kidnapping event. The United Kingdom’s media then aired the footage. A woman who positively identified the two boys from the footage called the police leading to the arrest of the two boys. The two murderers were Jon and Robert. The CCTV records helped the prosecution to build a watertight case against the boys, and they were successfully prosecuted .
Thirdly, CCTV cameras are used by corporations to safeguard their personnel at the place of work . In some instances, the workers are usually vulnerable to vocal and bodily assaults by rowdy members of the public. This type of assault is a common occurrence at the hotel reception where weird guests may intimidate and assault the employees. The employees in such an industry are also vulnerable to sexual assault. When the customers assault the employees, the workers may be upset and decide to hit back at the angry client .
However, when the worker knows that the CCTV cameras are watching, he or she is compelled to remain tranquil and does not aggravate the situation. The customer will also be compelled to act reasonably when he is aware that he or she is being watched via the CCTV camera. Therefore CCTV cameras are essential for a secure and moral society in the United Kingdom.
Another application of the CCTV that is of great value to the people of the United Kingdom is solving of disputes at the workplace . In many instances, the customer may lodge a complaint counter to the service of a certain organization. Where the complaint involves issues in quality of customer service, there may be the lack of tangible evidence to substantiate the claims made by the disgruntled clients. The customer may claim that the employees charged her for goods that were not packed.
Such incidences are a common occurrence in the supermarket . The customer may also come forth with a complaint of negligence and non-compliance to health regulations and safety regulations that have been put in place by the authorities. In such incidences, it is usually hard to extricate hoaxes from genuine claims. When the company does not establish the legitimacy of the claim, it is forced to compensate the customer for the claimed losses. This compensation may lead to the company incurring considerable losses from false claims . The CCTV footage may come in handy during such a case. It may help to solve the case and distinguish the genuine claims from the fabricated claims.
In addition to the use in combating crime and malpractices at the workplace, CCTV cameras are also used in identifying the over speeding drivers. There are many CCTV cameras are on bridges, masts and trees at strategic places along the major highways. There are also more CCTV cameras in police patrol cars. These cameras are usually linked to a computerized system that can detect when a vehicle in over-speeding depending on the speeding limit of that section of the road. The cameras then automatically take a snapshot of the over speeding vehicle.
Many modern CCTV cameras usually take very high resolution images. Such images can clearly show the identity of the person on the wheel and the registration number of the vehicle. Highway CCTV cameras can also document the events that lead to an accident and, therefore, aid the police officers and the insurance company in settling the payment . Therefore, CCTV cameras are fundamental and of much significance for the citizens of the United Kingdom.
Despite the countless benefits of the use of CCTV in the United Kingdom, there are critics to the use of CCTV technology. The critics argue that CCTV sacrifices and compromises the liberty and the privacy of the citizens of the United Kingdom .
They argue that CCTV cameras invade the privacy of the citizens. There is also an argument that CCTV cameras violate the fundamental constitutional human rights of privacy of the citizens . For instance, some installations may be done in locations where they can record individuals in their private moments. Such installations include those in places such as bathrooms and bedrooms. Such installations are considered as an intrusion of personal space. CCTV cameras should only be installed to obtain information for legal purposes. The CCTV cameras should not be installed to obtain personal information or to monitor the conduct of someone. In addition to this, the incriminating footage data may be distributed by malicious individuals for the purpose of tainting their image.
However, the fact that CCTV is an effective crime deterrent reigns over claims of breach of privacy. The other measures of deterring crime that are less non-invasive or less invasive to privacy are not as effective at documenting and preventing crime as CCTV. The alternative ways to combat crime are street lighting and the use of patrol officers. The shortcoming of these methods is that they do not provide a tangible way of documenting the actual crime. Therefore, these measures do not provide hard evidence for the use of prosecution in building a watertight case .
In addition to this, most of the cameras used for monitoring public areas are monitored by the local authority. The law binds the local authority to only use the footage for the purpose of legal use. Also, when people use the CCTV for indoor personal surveillance, the cameras are monitored by the owner and this reduces the chances that they will interfere with his or her privacy. It is, therefore, prudent to find a compromise by letting go of a little privacy in exchange for guaranteed personal protection and a sense of security that comes with the use of CCTV technology.
In conclusion, the use of CCTV cameras in the United Kingdom constitutes a great portion of the methods employed by the security forces in fighting crime. The CCTV cameras have a myriad of applications in not only combating crime but also in managing malpractices at the workplace. The use of CCTV cameras is of great significance in private and public zones. The significance comes from the fact that it is usually discouraging for a criminal to commit a crime when they feel that they are being watched. Therefore, I strongly believe that the use of CCTV cameras in the United Kingdom should be encouraged because it plays an important role in the documentation and deterrence of crime as well as repairing the moral fabric of the society by keeping antisocial behavior in check.
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