King’s Lynn: Best CCTV in UK
When it comes to CCTV on a large scale, no one can compare to London, England. They have one of the most advanced and effective CCTV security surveillance systems in the world monitoring their entire city, which has led to many arrests and convictions. However, in King’s Lynn, also located in England, citizens there are now feeling a lot safer on the streets thanks to CCTV security surveillance.
King’s Lynn was the first city after London to implement a CCTV security surveillance system as a tool for police. They were first installed in 1987, and no one had any idea that they would be so helpful in catching thieves and other criminals. It’s so successful, in fact, that more cameras have been installed to monitor parking lots and other such locations.
The system again proved effective, with vehicle crime falling by 97pc, and soon other towns followed suit in introducing their own version – sparking fears George Orwell’s 1984 was becoming a reality with claims “Big Brother” would be watching over us.
Fast-forward to 2012 – 25 years after the first cameras were installed – and Lynn has one of the most comprehensive systems in the country with 264 cameras covering residential areas, leisure parks, car parks, industrial estates, sports facilities and shopping areas.
As well as boasting radio links with police, shops, pubs and clubs, it has the country’s first partnership with rapid-response bicycle paramedics.
The self-financed system may also lead the way again soon by allowing police officers to view footage remotely.
Karl Weeks, CCTV operations manager, said: “The CCTV system you see today is completely different to what we had in place 25 years ago. But what we have still not been able to get rid of is this “Big Brother” image that we are so often tainted with but this is about a decade out of date. Even then there were only a few systems in the country that gave you that feeling and King’s Lynn was certainly not one of them. We now have strict legislation in place telling us what we can and can’t do so people should not buy into this ‘Big Brother’ image.”
Opponents of CCTV point out the loss of privacy of the people under surveillance, and the negative impact of surveillance on civil liberties. Furthermore, they argue that CCTV displaces crime, rather than reducing it. There are also claims that cameras “often” face the wrong way when offences are taking place and that footage is not of a good enough quality.
But Mr. Weeks, who has operated the cameras around Lynn since 1994, continued: “There is no such thing as a camera facing the wrong way.
“These systems are recording 24/7 in order to maximize what evidence is captured and we program a number of locations for the camera to look at when an operator is not controlling it. Take, for example, the camera on Westgates in King’s Lynn – it looks up Broad Street, towards Sainsbury’s and back up to Argos. If we didn’t move the camera around then we would capture everything in one place but miss everything else so this automatic setting gives us a one-in-three chance of capturing something if the camera is not being operated by an operator. At the end of the day we are not going to see everything but the effect we do have and the evidence we do give to the police continually overrides anything that we miss.”