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					            COMPLIANCE CCTV                                                                                                          www.cctvmags.com




Please don’t shoot
the messenger
There’s more to effective CCTV than expensive hardware.
Operational issues – such as system maintenance and
recording media management – are the key to success,
says Stephen Godfrey-Cass of Fujifilm.


A
                gainst a background of
                soaring street crime Tony
                Blair pledged in April that
                within five months, it would
                be ‘under control’. How can
CCTV help in the ongoing battle and
why does it too often disappoint?
   Six months and £27 million later, the
fulfilment or failure of his street crime
mission is still hotly debated. Conflicting
and contradictory figures abound
showing that although some crimes
may be reduced in some areas, others
are unaffected.
   And what is the role of CCTV in this
scenario? The British public is one of the
most filmed in the world. But, bizarrely,
the debate over whether surveillance
systems prevent crime, stop some types
of crime or just displace it, is similarly
unresolved.
   The answer is that CCTV can have a
real impact on reducing crime,
especially when linked to other crime
reduction initiatives, but only if systems
are used and maintained properly.
   Hardware is only one specific area of
CCTV. As with any component of a
solution, careful consideration needs to          Proper               equipment is checked following an            Poorly equipped and maintained
be given to the use of recording and              maintenance of       incident in the area monitored by CCTV.   systems may cost not only money, but
archiving media. Not only does quality            recording               In June, we heard the sad story of a   also convictions. Sometimes, images the
need to be considered but installers              equipment is         60-year-old woman who was raped in a      prosecuring authorities would like to use
should also look at management issues,            essential for good   West London mental health unit. The       in court are deemed unusable. Far too
to ensure that the end user is able to            quality images.      case, being tragic for the victim and     often the poor quality of the images –
achieve their requirements. The reality is                             serious for the health unit, got worse    due to serious installation design faults,
that should the media fail, or be                                      when it was learnt that hopes of          the lack of maintenance or the incorrect
inappropriate, then the whole system                                   identifying the perpetrator were dashed   storage of recorded media – disqualifies
has failed. Installers could be doing                                  because the video recorder had run out    them from use in criminal proceedings.
their customers a disservice by not                                    of tape.                                     Police say criminals are far more likely
helping them in their choice of storage
media.                                                                  This is what can happen when you get it wrong . . .
   There is no denying the importance of
correct management and maintenance
procedures. Not only must systems                                      ● Following  a bad assault and stabbing outside a nightclub, enquiries found
comply with the Data Protection Act                                    that the local town centre CCTV system still comprised analogue video
1998 and human rights issues, but they                                 recorders installed seven years earlier. The VCRs had not been fitted with
should also fulfil the original or modified                              replacement recorder heads, nor had there been any reconditioning of these
system aims and objectives. The                                        units. Multiplex images of this incident recorded during darkness were
deterrent effect of a system can only be                               evidentially virtually useless, due to the poor quality of the recording.
applicable where the criminal or anti-
social actions are premeditated. But this                              ●A  department store sent an assistant to select the cheapest pack of tapes
deterrent effect on criminals is hugely                                on sale in the store for a brand new CCTV system. The system cost £30,000 to
undermined if the system is improperly                                 install; the tapes were £2.99 for five! No records of tape changes were made.
used, or maintenance and management                                    The result was poor quality images and no audit trail. The shoplifters were
procedures are neglected. All too often,                               released due to insufficient evidence.
this situation comes to light when the


26 C C T V T O D A Y N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 2
www.cctvmags.com                                                                                               CCTV COMPLIANCE



                                                                  The police cannot enhance a recording               trail, they are unable to use it in the trial.
                                                                  if the original information is not available           There are further implications. The
                                                                  due to tape surface defects. They may               Criminal Procedure and Investigations
                                                                  be able to use some information on the              Act 1996 requires the prosecution to
                                                                  recording to provide background detail,             disclose to the defence the content of
                                                                  such as time, date and method used, but             the recorded tape. If the quality is poor,
                                                                  may not be good enough to use as                    defendants can see they are unlikely to
                                                                  evidence.                                           be identified from the recording. This
                                                                      Or how about this scenario? When an             could result in a not guilty plea at court,
                                                                  incident occurs the police are told:                followed by a not guilty verdict at the
                                                                  “Don't worry, we have it on CCTV.” But              end of the trial.
                                                                  they arrive only to find that no-one can                Never has CCTV been more in the
                                                                  remember who put the tape into the                  public’s glare than now, so public
                                                                  recorder, or when the tape was                      support may begin to wane if the basic
                                                                  changed – obviously no records have                 tenets of good practice are forgotten.
                                                                  been kept. The Crown Prosecution                    But CCTV itself is not to blame – after all
                                                                  Service may decide that without a                   we wouldn’t expect cars to run without
                                                                  continuity record and authentic audit               petrol in their tanks!                 CCTV

                                                                   PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE DATA PROTECTION ACT

                                                                   Fujifilm has launched a CCTV starter kit to         and enabling accurate pinpointing of
                                                                   help installers and end users comply with          breaches in security. The evidence bag
                                                                   legislation and best practice on system            includes a tear-off receipt at the bottom,
to plead guilty when faced with the           Criminals are far
                                                                   management and evidence. The company               which has the unique number of the bag
undeniable evidence of their actions on       more likely to
                                                                   believes it is the first manufacturer to offer      printed onto it with space for the recipient’s
videotape. This is backed up by the fact      plead guilty when
                                                                   such a product and it comprises the following:     details to be recorded.
that very small numbers of control room       faced with the
                                                                   ● 36 sequentially numbered CCTV HQ+
operators have been required to attend        undeniable
                                                                       cassettes                                      CCTV signage
court to give evidence over the past ten      evidence of their
                                                                   ● 5 evidence bags                                  Under the Data Protection Act 1998, those
years – a guilty plea from the defendant      actions on
                                                                   ● 1 CCTV log book                                  who are being filmed must be made aware
does not require the attendance of            videotape.
                                                                   ● 1 rigid CCTV sign                                that they are entering an area where CCTV is
witnesses.
                                                                   ● 1 inside window flexible CCTV sign                active. Two CCTV signs are included: the first
   So we see that the investment in CCTV
systems can be rendered evidentially                               ● 1 permanent marker for use with CCTV             can be attached to the inside of a window
almost worthless, simply due to                                        signs                                          facing out; and the second, made of rigid
management reducing or even not                                    ● 1 Fujifilm ‘Total Guide to CCTV’                  PVC, can be attached to a wall or perimeter
renewing the annual maintenance                                    ● 1 explanatory Data Protection leaflet             fence. A permanent marker pen is included
contract. The maintenance budget is an                             ● set of CCTV 1/2 size cassette spine labels       and space is provided on the sign for the
easy cut to make in the belief that it can                                                                            contact details of the scheme operator to be
be adjusted some time in the future.                               The CCTV cycle                                     included.
   Everyone has seen on television the                             It is recommended that each CCTV recorder
robbery at the store, bank or building                             should have a recording cycle of at least 31       CCTV log book
society shown on Crimewatch type                                   CCTV cassettes per year. A different tape          The Data Protection Act requires that it be
programmes, where it is very difficult to                           should be used for each day of the month.          possible to trace any recorded images to a
distinguish whether the robber is male or                          Each tape should be used a maximum of 12           specific date, time, recording device,
female – the facial features being                                 times to ensure the highest possible quality of    recording medium and operator. Tapes should
blurred and unrecognisable. How can
                                                                   recorded images, after which the tape should       be traceable through their individual uses.
this happen?
                                                                   be erased after 31 days and then destroyed.        The CCTV log book comprises 36 carbon copy
   Some users consider it worthwhile
                                                                   The five remaining tapes will be available in       log sheets, one sheet for each tape in the
skimping on the system budget and, for
                                                                   the event of a tape being removed from the         starter kit. Each log sheet allows the media
example, decide to buy low-cost tapes
and/or do not replace tapes as often as                            cycle for evidential use.                          recording and erasure details to be logged, in
needed. Both of these can prove to be a                                                                               addition to sections for when the tape is
false economy – there is no such thing as                          Sequentially numbered CCTV HQ+ cassettes           submitted as evidence and the destruction
a short cut when it comes to selecting                             For a tape to be accepted as evidence in a         details for the tape after the recommended 12
such a crucial piece of the jigsaw. Often,                         court of law it must be closely monitored and      passes.
the images recorded on a CCTV system                               recorded. Giving each cassette an individual,
cover a large area, or are possibly from a                         non-removable sequential number in the             Spine labels
site with inferior lighting conditions. In                         starter kit is the safest way of achieving this.   CCTV spine labels, included in the starter kit,
such cases, the need for the best quality                          Once a number has been added it will be            allows the unique sequential number on the
images available is absolutely                                     indelible, ensuring that the cassette cannot       spine of the cassette to remain visible, whilst
imperative. With an inferior quality or                            be tampered with and making it ideal for           still allowing the user to position a label
worn tape, it may not be possible to use                           subsequent evidential use. The development         neatly on the spine.
such images in evidence. Good quality        The                   of sequential numbering has been made
tapes, on the other hand, have a double                            possible through the use of advanced laser
coated surface to provide high quality       investment            technology which ‘burns’ information onto the
images.
   Furthermore, the required image is
                                             in CCTV               spine of each tape.
often located within a multiplexed, time-    systems can           Evidence bags
lapsed recording. So any imperfection in
the quality of the tape surface, caused      be rendered           Fujifilm’s CPS approved Evidence Bags
by tape wear, build-up of material on the                          feature an easy-to-use closure seal that
recording heads or recording head
                                             evidentially          provides tamper-evident security against all
                                                                   known methods of attack. Each bag is marked
wear, will be magnified under these           almost                with a unique number, ensuring traceability
conditions.
   What can be done if this happens?         worthless. . .
                                                                                                    N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 2 C C T V T O D A Y 27

				
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