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Police maintain CCTV has role in war on crime

PUBLISHED: 18:02 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 09:06 12 August 2010

POLICE have rejected claims that CCTV has done nothing to lower crime rates. Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, who heads the Visual Images, Identifications, and Detections Office (Viido), based in Southwark, called it a fiasco that only three pe

POLICE have rejected claims that CCTV has done nothing to lower crime rates.

Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, who heads the Visual Images, Identifications, and Detections Office (Viido), based in Southwark, called it a "fiasco" that only three per cent of London's street robberies have been solved using the cameras.

But a spokesman for Bromley police rubbished Mr Neville's comments and said it was hard to monitor the exact success rates of CCTV because no official figures are kept.

He added: "We believe it is an important tool in protecting the public, both as a deterrent and in the investigation of a wide range of crime from 'minor' offences to terrorism.

"CCTV has proved very useful to us in Bromley as we have recently had some high-profile convictions where the prosecution case has been supported by cameras."

Cameras have helped Bromley police to secure convictions in a number of headline-grabbing cases, including that of Peter Anscombe, who attacked a 17-year-old girl in Orpington on September 30, 2006.

CCTV showed Anscombe following sales assistant Carley Furness onto the bus, staring at her and getting off the bus just behind her, all seconds before the attack.

After police were shown the CCTV stills, an inspector on her lunch break in the town centre spotted Anscombe, leading to his arrest and sentence to life imprisonment on July 27 last year.

George Isodo, from Brockley, was also sentenced to 54 months for a robbery and vicious life-threatening assault on a 17-year-old youth in Betts Park, Penge, after police used evidence from cameras.

The Bromley police spokesman added: "We were able to recover good-quality CCTV of Isodo leaving the scene of the crime and tracking him onto a train, and throughout his journey until he got off at Norwood Junction."

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said: "The MPS does not consider that CCTV has failed.

"The comments made by DCI Mick Neville reflect the need for police to make the best possible use of available footage and exploit its benefits both in crime prevention and detection.

"The MPS has worked with partners, including local government, transport and private industry, to invest in and develop CCTV where it will be most effective across London.

"We believe we have seen the results of this in the contribution CCTV has made to the year-on-year reduction in crime in the capital.

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