HC Deb 09 June 2004 vol 422 cc448-9W
Mr. Gregory Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the levels of criminal activity in areas of Northern Ireland that are now covered by CCTV compared to the levels before that coverage commenced. [176630]

Mr. Spellar

There are currently 19 town centre CCTV systems installed across Northern Ireland for the purposes of tackling crime and antisocial behaviour. In addition some 32 CCTV cameras have been installed at interface areas in Belfast to deal with incidents of public disorder.

The former Police Authority for Northern Ireland who handled the allocation of funding for most of the town centre schemes in Northern Ireland required each individual scheme to arrange an evaluation of their performance in the two years after the CCTV system became operational. All evaluations received to date, indicate that in the areas where CCTV was in operation, crime was reduced or, the rate of increase was slower than other areas and the level of detection of crime increased. In some areas the level of reported crime increased as the cameras witnessed crimes not normally reported, though this was usually combined with an increase in detection.

Wider research from other parts of the UK has established that CCTV is an effective crime reduction tool, particularly where it is used in conjunction with other crime reduction initiatives.

The network of CCTV cameras at interface locations in North and East Belfast has proved very effective not only in terms of effecting non-confrontational arrests but also in allowing police to deploy resources in a better informed manner. Accordingly, the cameras have helped maintain a relative calm at interface locations.