There are almost six million CCTV cameras in the UK, more per head than any other country on the planet, according to Channel 5. These cameras are becoming increasingly important in catching criminals in the act and providing the evidence that’s putting the guilty behind bars. Introduced by journalist, Nick Wallis, the highly popular series Criminals Caught on Camera offers a unique insight into the world of those who monitor our streets and the law enforcement professionals they liaise with 24/7.
The new season for 2014 kicked off with a one hour special that gave almost 1.3 million viewers a look at the UK’s capital as never before. Titled Gangs and Guns: Caught On Camera, the first episode examined crime on the streets of London. Revealing footage caught on some of the capital’s four hundred thousand CCTV cameras captures criminals involved in robberies, thefts, drug crimes, street brawls and a rampage involving guns and the Met’s Air Support Unit.
Channel 5 provided the audience a sneak peak into three of the city’s busiest and most sophisticated CCTV Control Rooms in Soho, Lambeth and Hammersmith & Fulham, where London’s streets are monitored over a typical weekend. From the secret underground bunker in Soho, to the Met Police’s Central Communications Command Centre in Lambeth, via the busy borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, episode one delivered an illuminating look at just what criminal elements get up to when they think no one is watching.
This includes a plethora of illegal activity from robberies, to drug dealing, to the new pickpocket technique of ‘hugger-mugging’. Not to mention a range of alcohol fuelled madness, some funny, some not. Two nearly became one when, horrifically, a couples’ argument resulted in the boyfriend jumping onto one of the capital’s railways where the deadly 1500 volt ‘third rail’ lay in wait – an incident that nearly always results in a fatality. A 999 call came in of a rampaging gang armed with a gun.
And then there was the incident that will make you reconsider buying that hotdog from a vendor at the end of a night out on the town…
Episode 2, Shops & Robbers: Caught on Camera, is airing tonight at 9pm and has just as much action lined up for viewers. Tonight, Caught on Camera looks into the battles being waged on the high streets and in our shopping centres. It’s a war, with shoplifters, ram-raiders, robbers and thieves on the one side and the police, CCTV Operators and their state of the art CCTV cameras on the other. According to Channel 5, Last year was the worst in a decade for shopkeepers, with retail crime up a staggering 6%. But its £511mil financial cost isn’t the worst thing – 36,000 innocent shop staff were abused or faced violence last year. In tonight’s episode we see how three CCTV Control rooms are taking on the bad guys directly, and bringing the fight to them.
This includes a horrific attempt by a weapon-wielding ex-employee trying to rob a fish and chip shop, a hard working newsagent face an incident when a gun toting maniac tries to rob his day’s takings and seasoned operator and ex-cop Barbara witnessing a drug taker getting his fix from her CCTV control room in Stafford. Viewers will also follow Barbara as she tracks an abusive shoplifter until he is apprehended by the police, follows a coat thief who thinks he’s high and dry, and catches a drunk student – who takes issue with a bin.
The show is filled with other acts of brazen criminal daring, all caught on camera, unique access to one of the Met’s elite Video imaging units as they take viewers through the case of the Romanian Jewellery heisters responsible for a crime spree that raked in a million pounds, over seven daring raids.
It’s another action filled episode that provides an incredible insight into how Britain’s CCTV crusaders are stopping criminals in their tracks, and keeping our high streets and shopping centres free of crime. Not to mention catching those who can’t hold their drink!
There are a further seven shows, scheduled for later in the year, set to reveal shocking real crime footage caught on camera from across the UK. From gangs and guns to retail crime, and yobs on public transport to traffic horrors, its jaw-dropping footage and unique insight into the crime happening under the nose of the country’s CCTV operators.
Whatever the situation, the message is clear – Criminals beware, one way or another, you’ll be Caught on Camera.
Don’t miss Shops & Robbers: Caught on Camera tonight at 9pm on Channel 5.
To find out more about tonight’s episode, or to catch previous episodes on demand, visit the Channel 5 website here.