‘Quality rather than quantity’ key to Council CCTV success

Alan Blake, Sales and Marketing Director at Secom.

Alan Blake, Sales and Marketing Director at Secom.

A leading security expert reckons that for monitoring large public space, the quality of CCTV cameras is more important than quantity. Councils in particular could cut down on the number of street cameras if they switched to higher definition CCTV.

Alan Blake, Sales and Marketing Director at Secom, and a security industry veteran of 30 years, admitted while it was “inevitable” that the economic climate would affect council CCTV spending, the levels of cuts to camera numbers should not be a worry to the public.

Recent figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request by Labour MP Gloria de Piero highlighted that one in five councils across the UK have been forced to cut the number of CCTV cameras across their network since 2010.

Blake claims a significant number of those councils will have been deploying static-type CCTV cameras and other old technology that is “becoming ineffective” to deal with current operational requirements.

With HD 1080p cameras becoming more commonplace in monitoring the UK’s streets, he cited the rollout of better technology as being more important than solely the number of cameras on a council’s network.

“These can cover four times the area of conventional analogue camera. 50 per cent less cameras doesn’t mean 50 per cent less coverage,” said Blake. “Modern day cameras that use intelligent video analytics will become more prevalent. These will provide alerts to CCTV operators when a set of ‘rules’ have been broken.

“This will be much more effective than a town centre CCTV operator having to constantly view multiple screens for abnormal or unusual behaviour. The analytics will work constantly and never tire.”

However, in order to increase the prevalence across council networks of technologies, such as HD cameras, IP recording and video analytics, investment is going to be required and that could be an issue during the current financial climate, with Government spending a matter of heightened national interest.


  1. Tom Reeve on April 5, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Thank-you, good point. I haven’t seen any video analytics system yet that can monitor a busy town centre, so Alan’s claims are perhaps a little premature. But who knows, in a few years, technology that exists today may have been improved to the point where it will be able to perform moderately complex monitoring tasks.

    Meanwhile, I would be interested in your opinion as to whether a few high-resolution cameras, such as HDCCTV 1080p, can replace a larger number of PAL resolution cameras. Could councils, as Alan claims, cut the number of street cameras by switching to high-definition CCTV?

  2. Angry Engineer on April 5, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Council operated CCTV are usually installed in high traffic area’s such as town/city centre’s. I’d really like Alan Blake to explain how a set of rules on an IP camera can substitute the eyes of good CCTV operators. You couldn’t possibly setup rules to look for all the things that good operators look for. Just another sakesman trying to make money i think.
    Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong amd you know something I don’t

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