Benefits of CCTV…but is this the real picture?

CCTV is just about everywhere now and is universally accepted by the public as something that is part of  our everyday lives. However what are the benefits and what is the real truth behind CCTV systems that have been installed over the last 20 years?

Benefits as follows:

1) CCTV is always on. Day and night the systems record every movement  that takes place in view of the camera.

2) CCTV acts as a valuable visual  deterrent. No one is knowingly going to commit a crime when they know they are being watched and recorded.

3) CCTV cameras can be fitted both internally and externally this is certainly not the case with all physical deterrents.

4) CCTV can be used to determine authorised access to site, controlling movement and keeping out those who perhaps should not be in a certain area at a certain time.

5) CCTV can be used to determine when a deliberate attempt to compromise a secure boundary is taking place . Particularly useful for high security situations such as the MOD sites and airports.

6) CCTV reduces loses due to theft. Crucial in the retail industry.

7) CCTV reduces company loses from fraudulent transactions or injury claims.

8 )  CCTV can be used to enforce health and safety requirements on site , it may even to be able to claim that it saves lives.

9) CCTV enables retrospective analysis of crimes and actions, the resulting evidence can be used to enforce a conviction or in the case of companies, a dismissal.

10) CCTV gives  the public a feeling of well being that that would not be achievable without the help of the knowledge that people are watching to keep you safe.

11) CCTV is cheaper and more reliable that manned guarding and human intervention . Cost is always a primary decision when it comes to security.

CCTV images of riots

Can we get a conviction from this kind of quality image?

To be fair we could go on, but the above bullet points prove that for all the negative publicity that CCTV sometimes gets, there is certainly value in the concept.

The concept?…yes this is where we actually to get to root of the problem with CCTV. Everyone loves the concept but over the last 20 years people have been less than satisfied with the results that have been achieved by installing CCTV on the streets or into their businesses. Why you may ask? Well the answer is simple “ANALOGUE CCTV”.

Analogue CCTV  has been about the most mis-sold product of the last 20 years in our opinion. The reason is quite simple….. “definition”. Lets be fair, analogue CCTV is quite capable of providing the correct definition if specified correctly , however cost has proved a limiting factor in the sale of CCTV systems across the UK and invariably CCTV has been massively undersold as a result. There are simply not enough cameras or recording memory to get satisfactory results. Everyone wants a wide angle picture, all customers want to see every part of of their site  but they also expect to be able to see car reg plates and faces as well . This is not possible or at least it is not possible without the correct investment. You must buy the right lens and ensure you get the correct angle of view as well but you must have enough cameras looking into the area of interest. You must also take lighting into consideration to really achieve what the end user expects. Sadly over the years salesmen have wrongly under specified in order to keep costs competative and win contracts. This way of selling has caused disillusionment amongst business owners and the public alike.

Now though the CCTV industry has the means to redeem itself. HD CCTV is the answer. This can be provided either through an HD SDI format or over IP. Now images that we all agree are a huge improvement on the past are achievable. The CCTV industry has something to hang its hat on !


HD CCTV promises to restore the faith of the public in CCTV in general and offers the CCTV industry the opportunity to upgrade many of the poorly sold systems of the past. This of course does not excuse mistakes that have previously been made. It must also be warned that as always you will get what you pay for. Don’t be tempted by cheap HD SDI DVR’s that offer frame rates and recording capacity that just won’t cut it.  It does however offer a way forward that will see all the benefits listed above be able to be applied and at last get some real value for money out of your CCTV system.

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