If, it is the right equipment for the job, sighted in the right place, well maintained with good housekeeping of recordings and continuously monitored, CCTV can be a real asset to any workplace violence prevention programme – allowing simultaneous remote “viewing” of a variety of sectors of the workplace by one individual and for “informed” assignment of security personnel resources.

But, (be clear about this) on its own, CCTV won’t prevent violent incidents taking place!

CCTV is nothing like a panacea for preventing violence

High profile cases like the abduction and murder of James Bulger and the arrest of Brixton nail bomber David Copeland have demonstrated CCTV can be useful in identifying and convicting offenders. These notable successes (and others like them) have helped promulgate the notion that CCTV is practically the “Total Cure”.

But, regrettably, CCTV is nothing like a panacea for preventing crime and, in particular, crimes involving violence.

It certainly doesn’t make people in Town Centres any safer!

Home Office research confirms that the effectiveness of CCTV as a tool to fight crime is greatly overstated.

Evaluations of 24 CCTV schemes in town centres, housing estates, public transport and car parks showed:

  • A fall in crime at thirteen of the sites
  • At seven sites the cameras seemed to have had no effect at all
  • Four sites had actually suffered significant rises in crime rates

The report shows that while CCTV can help to reduce car crime in some car parks, Town Centre schemes have little impact on serious or violent crime underlining that vulnerable areas still need to be appropriately policed and patrolled.