According to recent research conducted by the British Security Industry Authority (BSIA), there are around 5.9 million closed-circuit television cameras in the UK, which roughly equates to one camera for every 11 people in the UK.
While the use of surveillance systems is frequently criticised, there is no doubt that professionally installed CCTV schemes (used responsibly) have a highly effective role to play in the security of not just homes, retail and business premises, but also schools, hospitals, health centres and care homes, as well as citizens going about their daily lives.
However there is a common misconception that it is the Government who owns the majority of surveillance cameras in the UK. The BSIA research proved that on the contrary it was: “Private companies who are actually funding the majority of the nation’s CCTV on the basis that it delivers a clear return on investment.”
CCTV’s efficacy is underlined by the fact that properly run CCTV schemes are regarded as a valuable source of crime evidence by the police. In 2009, for example, 95 per cent of Scotland yard murder cases used CCTV footage as evidence.
Without the help of privately owned systems, the police would only have access to one publicly-owned camera per 1,000 head of population. Not enough to make a difference in solving crime.
For landlords and letting agents in the West Country’s two major cities of Bristol and Bath, the crime that continues to be a particular source of worry is burglary, which although it has decreased overall since September 2012, appears to be increasing again across not just Bristol, Bath and Wells but other rural parts of Somerset and South Gloucestershire too. It is also increasing across the country as a whole.
As a preventative measure against burglary, CCTV has a vital role to play not just for property owners and managing/letting agents, but for tenants, too, who feel more secure knowing there is a camera watching the entrance to their house or apartment – particularly if they have been burgled before.
There are numerous factors to take into consideration when choosing a CCTV surveillance system.
- What type of property is going to be fitted with CCTV? Detached/semi-detached/terraced house or an apartment block?
- How complex a system will be required? Again this will depend on the size and number of the properties requiring CCTV.
- Will 24 hour monitoring be required? If so, then both day and night cameras need to be considered, as colour images will be required for daylight hours and monochrome images for night time.
- Are the cameras to be placed inside or outside? If they are outside, they need to be weather resistant.
- How safe are the cameras from vandalism? It’s important to place them out of reach and to protect them with grilles or secure housing.
- Lease or purchase? If you are the owner of a single small property then the outright purchase of a small CCTV system is probably the most practical solution. While the owner of a large building, such as a block of flats, or a landlord with multiple properties will find leasing to be a cost effective solution.
Any building owner who has the best interests of both the tenants and the property(ies) at heart can rest assured that by choosing a CCTV security system they will have taken an important step towards improving their safety and protecting them from harm.