Channel 5 documentary ‘Caught on Camera’ looks at CCTV in policing

Caught on Camera‘Caught on Camera’, the successful Channel 5 documentary series, is set to keep the spotlight on the benefits of CCTV and surveillance with the next series already taking shape.

The series, filmed on location, provides a rare insight into the crucial role CCTV operators play behind the scenes in effective policing and prevention of crime, said Diccon Green, Series Producer, adding that the programme celebrates positive examples of situations where CCTV has provided unique criminal evidence, which stands up in court, as well as showcasing the latest in CCTV technology.

Diccon commented, “‘Caught on Camera’ lays out how CCTV is used 24/7 to make our streets safe and protect law abiding citizens. It highlights the tireless work of the CCTV operators, whose skills, that often go unsung, result directly in more crimes and incidents receiving successful conclusions, or more importantly, getting stopped before they’ve even started.  ‘Caught on Camera’s’ exclusive access to CCTV control rooms around the country, its up-close insight into how CCTV systems are operated and manned, and it’s use of actual CCTV footage used as part of real life investigations has caught the fascination of millions of viewers who now understand the benefits and undeniable importance of CCTV.”

The programme, which first aired in 2013, has explored different types of crime, including home burglaries, pickpockets, anti-social behaviour and assaults, demonstrating how CCTV and surveillance has assisted police and other agencies. The documentary helped raise the profile of CCTV networks and celebrated successful national policing.

This positive approach helps counter the negative perceptions of CCTV and surveillance.

Caught on CameraViewing figures for series one peaked at 1.8m viewers, and totalled 8.2m overall. The producers highlighted how viewers clearly connected with the subject matter, and responded positively, with audiences taking to social media to commend the work of the controllers, councils and police that were featured.

Andy Stocker, CCTV Manager, Hammersmith and Fulham Council said, “The production team assured me that their intention was to portray the positive impact that large town centre CCTV systems have in the reduction of crime and anti-social behaviour on our streets.  Channel 5 was true to their word and I was extremely happy with the episodes that aired.  I have been overwhelmed with positive feedback from residents, friends, senior management and councillors.”

According to Diccon Green, perceptions of CCTV are changing, especially since the 2011 London riots, and the public are really getting behind the technology. Programmes like this help prove the necessity of surveillance in the modern world by revealing the human face of CCTV and reinforcing the good surveillance does, moving the spotlight from the cameras to the people behind them.

He commented: “Since the 2011 riots the British public’s view of CCTV seems to have finally tipped firmly into the ‘if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about’ camp.  Over the following two years viewers witnessed for themselves the mindless anti-social behaviour of the rioters as their senseless actions, captured by CCTV camera’s belonging to councils, police forces, and private businesses, were played out on their TV screens in news reports. This clarified two things; first that people were willing to break the law given the smallest of incentives, and second that in order to identify and catch those people, CCTV was an essential and invaluable tool.  The police are still getting convictions as a result of CCTV footage from the riots; to date there have been 4,965 arrests resulting in 3,151 cautions, fines, or court summons, and the numbers are still rising.”

Caught on CameraRichard Burnett, CCTV Supervisor, Huntingdonshire District Council adds, “The series was such a positive for the industry and highlighted what it actually does as opposed to the ‘Big Brother’ myth.”

The new series will continue this trend of education by branching out and examining other technologies currently making people safe. Surveillance technology that will feature in the series will include ANPR technology which helps deny criminals the use of UK roads, and air support unit footage. At a time when local authority CCTV services are under increasing financial pressure, the series gives institutions a chance to show the value for money they provide in making communities safer.

To take the next series to new heights, Channel 5 has issued a casting call to the security industry and users of the latest technology to find fresh faces and new surveillance solutions. Channel 5 is specifically looking for people who manage, have access to, or operate CCTV systems.

If you are an active user of CCTV systems, either publicly or privately owned, or provide surveillance solutions and feel you can contribute to the show, then get in touch with Channel 5 by calling +44 (0)207 308 5436 or emailing to share your story.


‘Caught on Camera’ series one is available to watch on Demand 5 here:


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