Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

'More support' for CCTV after riots

A survey shows the public backs CCTV following this summer's riots

More than a third of people say their support for the use of CCTV surveillance in public places has increased following the summer's riots, a survey shows.

Three quarters of people feel safer in public areas knowing that CCTV is in operation, two thirds would like to see more CCTV in their local area, and seven in 10 would be worried if their local council reduced CCTV coverage, the survey of more than 2,000 adults found.

In all, some 94% of those surveyed backed the police using CCTV footage to identify those involved in the looting and disorder which swept through English cities in August.

Scotland Yard alone is releasing 20 new CCTV images every day in a bid to trace those involved and has more than 100,000 hours of CCTV footage to view.

Giving evidence to the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said he was shocked at how many of those involved in the riots were "casually indifferent to CCTV filming them".

"We're managing to catch an awful lot of them because they made this blithe assumption that you go and steal a TV set after smashing a window and you'll get away with it.

"I think it's terribly important you don't get away with it."

He added he was shocked by the "completely irresponsible feckless reaction" from those caught up in the disorder.

"I was slightly shocked that so many people just casually took to thieving, sometimes very violent thieving, just because the opportunity presented itself and the excitement ran and so on," he said.

Azadar Shah, managing director of surveillance firm Synectics which commissioned ICM to carry out the survey, added that the high-profile role of CCTV footage in the investigation was having an impact on public opinion.

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