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The Cost to the Public of Public Area CCTV?

What actually is the cost of Public Area CCTV operated by your Local Authority per person per year in your community?

Go on, make a guess! Write it down and then compare it with the true figure.

I'm afraid I can't give you the exact figure for your Local Authority, but after a survey of many systems in the UK, I can give you the 'average costs' of such systems.

Are you ready to be surprised? Then the answer is £2.03 per person in the authority area PER YEAR! Say the about equivalent of £10 per family per year

Surprised, then so was I, and the cost ranges from 30p per year  per person to a maximum of £4.07 per year per person.

 Isn't that incredible value for money? Well we have more statistics that show what is achieved for that incredibly low cost, and conversley what is risked if your authority decides to close the system, or reduce operating hours etc to save money for budget cuts.

These costs originate from a survey the CCTV User Group carried out of its members systems (still ongoing so any changes will be updated here as more statistics come available this is the position on 12/09/2011, with about 10% of all Local Authority Public Area CCTV systems responding, covering approximately 10% of the UK population. The number of cameras however implies it could at this stage be skewed towards the larger systems).

They above figures are based on the annual operating cost per year of the system, divided by the resident population of the authority area.

So what do these systems achieve?

I am sure you have seen the benefits and achievements of Public Area CCTV during the recent riots, but for more information on the value of CCTV in identifying culprits in them can be seen on the August 2011 fly-out menu for Exploding the Myths'


Statistics of CCTV System Achievements
   Number of Incidents recorded by CCTV Systems  Percentage originated by the Operator  Number of Video Reviews Number of Evidence Discs Seized  Number of Arrests witnessed by CCTV System


















Now many of you might be wondering about the significant range of costs and values in these results. The problem is no two systems are alike. Some might be very small and some quite large. Some are inner cities and some more rural shire districts. Different systems also have different approaches to recording such statistics, and in others many control rooms provide many other services apart from CCTV, eg Carelines for vulnerable adults, or out of hours emergency telephone response for the authority. As it is often difficult to accurate sub-divide these costs with the same staff dealing with all these functions it is difficult to be precise. But they are offered as an indication.

So, that's the cost per person and what that money achieves, but on a daily basis what does it cost to run the CCTV system and what does that achieve?


The Cost of Operation of a Public Area CCTV System  £
  Cost per Authority Population Cost per Incident Recorded Cost per arrest witnessed Cost per hour of Operation















Of these I think the most telling is the average cost per hour of operating a Public Area CCTV System. At less than £40 per hour for a 24/7/365 service it probably doesn't match the cost of the equivalent 1 Police Officer 24/7/365. But in CCTV terms the average system provides the equivalent of about 150 pairs of eyes, and the ability to record the evidence in a manner that the event can be graphically illustrated by recorded images.

Any comments on these statistics would be welcomed -click here for feedback

• (146) By Peter Fry, 12 Sep 2011, 14:33

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