Freedom of information request reference no: 2018100000466

I note you seek access to the following information:

1. How many cameras are used by the police, private companies and individuals?
2. Who can watch the recordings? What is the difference about recording, storing and the data viewing, according to who detains the camera?
3. Does live watching with CCTV cameras exist?
4. What guarantees the preservation of the principle of private life? a) Is there any legislation about the camera angle? b) Can we be recorded at home?
5. When was the first CCTV camera set up? a) Has the amount of cameras increased within the past few years? b) It is related to something specific?
6. What is the efficiency of the cameras? a) Has CCTV cameras impacted the criminality rate? b) Are there statistics about the decreasing percentage of criminality linked to the presence of CCTV cameras? c) Or statistics about the percentage of cases solved thanks to those cameras?
7. Why/How have Britons accepted to be watched 24/7, everywhere? a) Do you think it would be possible to do the same in other countries such as France?
8. If someone is assaulted in front of a shop and the scene is recorded by a CCTV camera, can the store owner bring the recordings to the police station, without the victim asking for it or having denounced the crime before? a) Can we report an offense with a CCTV camera as the only proof?
9. Will CCTV system substitute policemen in some areas for specific missions?
10. Do CCTV installations, operated by private companies, can be seen as reappropriation of the duty of security supposed to be belonging to the State?

Decision 

I have today decided to disclose the located information to you in full. Please find below information pursuant to your request above.

Q1 - How many cameras are used by the police, private companies and individuals?
There are no central records for the total numbers of cameras used by the police, private companies and individuals. The Metropolitan Police own about 3000 cameras attached to the outside and outside of their buildings, but most street cameras are owned and operated by local councils and TfL.
The Surveillance Camera Commissioner at the Home Office may be able to assist with more information.

Q2 - Who can watch the recordings? What is the difference about recording, storing and the data viewing, according to who detains the camera?
Police can watch recording if this in support of their core duties relating to prevention and detection of crime. The Surveillance Camera Commissioner has established Codes of Practice regarding the viewing, recording and storing of images.
Please use this to the Surveillance Camera Commissioner site 

Q3 - Does live watching with CCTV cameras exist?
Yes CCTV cameras can be monitored live by police in order to assist with carrying out their core duties and responsibilities.

Q4 - What guarantees the preservation of the principle of private life? a) Is there any legislation about the camera angle? b) Can we be recorded at home?
Legislation exists to protect individual rights including the right to private life. This includes the Human Right Act 1988, Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, Regulation of investigatory Procedures Act 1986 and the Data Protection Act 2018 which can all be found on line. The police are obliged to act in accordance with this legislation.

Q5 - When was the first CCTV camera set up? a) Has the amount of cameras increased within the past few years? b) It is related to something specific?
The MPS does not hold this information.

Q6 - What is the efficiency of the cameras? a) Has CCTV cameras impacted the criminality rate? b) Are there statistics about the decreasing percentage of criminality linked to the presence of CCTV cameras? c) Or statistics about the percentage of cases solved thanks to those cameras?
The MPS does not hold this information. There are academic studies available on this subject.

Q7 - Why/How have Britons accepted to be watched 24/7, everywhere? a) Do you think it would be possible to do the same in other countries such as France?
The MPS does not hold this information.

Q8 - If someone is assaulted in front of a shop, and the scene is recorded by a CCTV camera, can the store owner bring the recordings to the police station, without the victim asking for it or having denounced the crime before? a) Can we report an offense with a CCTV camera as the only proof?
Yes, the police can be given CCTV recordings relating to an offence without a report being made by the victim. CCTV recordings can therefore be treated as evidence in relation to an offence.

Q9 - Will CCTV system substitute policemen in some areas for specific missions?
The MPS have no plans to substitute police officers with CCTV.

Q10 - Do CCTV installations, operated by private companies, can be seen as reappropriation of the duty of security supposed to be belonging to the State?
The MPS does not hold this information.