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Video Surveillance In The Kingdom
A lot of European nations utilize public video surveillance as a leading tool for monitoring movement and possible terrorist acts. The United Kingdom is known for relying heavily on video surveillance in crime prevention efforts. Some studies show that video surveillance is indeed making an impact in the fight against crime.
Video surveillance in the United Kingdom started n 1986 in an industrial estate outside the town of King's Lynn. Video surveillance cameras were installed and their usefulness was immediately apparent. Before the cameras were put in place, almost 60 crimes were recorded. Two years after installation, there were no crimes reported. Needless to say, other town and cities followed suit.
Soon after that, the government made a large amount of money available to establish surveillance programs in different areas. Municipal systems have been operating for over a decade but there is little formal data to measure actual effectiveness. However, British government reports assert that these surveillance systems are in fact, a major reason for declining crime rates.
Most Britons are aware of these video surveillance systems. Going shopping, riding a train, buying gas, going to the bank, attending a soccer match. If someone does any of this, chances are his image will be recorded on video. This means that citizens notice the cameras but do not really seem to mind them. In fact, a surprising number of people support the use of video surveillance systems. But some people do think that the setup is Orwellian in nature.
Proof In The Pudding
Supporters emphasize that video surveillance is invaluable in apprehending criminals. Kidnappings and terrorist bombings have been prevented with the use of this technology. Arrests were conducted after video images were broadcast to the public and citizens responded. Video surveillance is also helping to clean up the notorious image of English soccer. Fans who had disrupted games in the past were barred from attending future matches with the help of surveillance images.
The advantage of the British video surveillance systems is that nearly all of them are linked to local police stations. If not, they are monitored by private security guards in a central location. If a guard notices an illegal act, the image can be sent to the police monitors so the authorities can react accordingly.
The United Kingdom has embraced video surveillance as powerful tool in law enforcement. Civil libertarians may decry their prevalence but there is no denying that they are effective in helping the authorities. It is a matter of proper usage of this technology. As long as they do not infringe on the privacy of law-abiding citizens, then the police can take full advantage of their utility in crime prevention.
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