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Big Brother cameras lead to 700 street arrests in a year

PUBLISHED: 12:44 13 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:57 05 October 2010

SPY cameras have led 700 arrests in London’s East End in the past 12 months. An average of nearly two arrests every day of the year have resulted from public surveillance being stepped up by Tower Hamlets council’s CCTV control centre. Public surveillance has expanded since the control room opened in 2006, with operators now on duty 24 hours a day monitoring people’s movements in the street

By Mike Brooke

SPY cameras in a street near you have led to hundreds of arrests in London’s East End in the past 12 months.

An average of nearly two arrests every day of the year have resulted from public surveillance being stepped up by Tower Hamlets council’s CCTV control centre, latest figures reveal.

Public surveillance has expanded since the control room opened in 2006, with operators now on duty 24 hours a day monitoring people's movements in the street.

They alert police if they spot what they believe to be criminal activity, but also help locate suspects with CCTV.

A total of 567 arrests resulted from these alerts during 2008 from council staff tipping off the police, with another 131 arrests made during special operations.

“These figures are incredible,” said Tower Hamlets council Cabinet member Abdal Ullah. “Two arrests a day really shows how effective the cameras and council team are in detecting crime, through close working with the police. The cameras are monitored 24 hours a day.”

The council has installed 230 street cameras in Tower Hamlets, with 70 on direct view at any one time. Operators regularly scan through cameras, with certain “problem areas” monitored more closely than others.

But it’s not only criminals and street yobs being nabbed.

Motorists are also feeling the pinch with CCTV being used to issue automatic fines for minor wrong turns and using bus-lanes. One T-junction at Bethnal Green-road and Wilmot-street in Bethnal Green has four cameras trained on it as well as regular surveillance by the council’s mobile camera vehicle.


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