The State of Surveillance

10 December 2018

Today there are more surveillance cameras in the UK than anywhere in the world, one camera per 11-14 people according to recent figures. In fact 2.2 billion people are spent on video surveillance systems per year with the majority being privately owned, this figure is set to rise, as society becomes more litigious. Indeed, according to Scotland Yard, 95% or murder cases investigated use CCTV footage as determining evidence and is invaluable for determining traffic offences.
There is no doubt that these cameras have become part of our social fabric but how did they become so?

CCTV Origins

In 1960 the Thai Royal Family visited London and temporary CCTV cameras were placed in Trafalgar Square to survey the overseeing crowds. A year later the very first permanent cameras were placed in London’s busy railway stations and soon after across other large cities in the country beginning with Liverpool. By the end of the sixties 67 CCTV cameras were being accessed by fourteen different police precincts, yet only four were set up to record footage. During this time the first prototype home security surveillance system was approved in the US.

Mainstream CCTV

By the seventies the cameras had become far more widespread, many being set up on motorways, tube stations and football stadiums and in response to the demand, the advancement of the technology. By the eighties the government were beginning to install up to 500 cameras per week, due to video recorded surveillance and storage becoming so much more efficient and reliable.


The eighties brought digital multiplexing, a technique where multiple high quality cameras are able to film at once. Following this, came the advanced camera that could film in colour, all feeding into the golden age of CCTV, the nineties. Across this decade, the home office spent over 200m placing CCTV in public areas and specific spaces such as ATMs.

Recent developments

Today with wifi and cloud storage, surveillance experts have more footage than possible to review and CCTV is now such a common feature of urban life. However, CCTV does not come without its critics, especially around topics such as the Government’s Snoopers Charter, a new law which requires phone and web companies to store for 12 months everyones browsing histories and allow authorities total access to the data. It also includes the hacking of phones.

CCTV Considerations

When owning a surveillance system, it is good to stay aware of all the current legal requirements especially if the footage is to be used in a court of law e.g. Cameras need to be placed and positioned correctly and can easily be rendered illegal and therefore all evidence that is recorded could be redundant.

For more information on the correct instalment of CCTV cameras and other surveillance devices contact Security Assured today.

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