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It seems strange that, when police and public are becoming increasingly paranoid about anyone with a camera in any urban location that’s not a tourist trap, 24/7 CCTV surveillance is regarded as essential in protecting Swindon from terrorists. A consultants report for Swindon Community Safety Partnership — the organisation that brought us lollipops as a remedy to drunken brawls — has raised concerns about the uncoordinated approach to CCTV. A report to the next cabinet meeting of Swindon Borough Council concludes

The Town Centre systems that exist are not currently monitored 24/7. The effect of this is that there is no pro-active CCTV cover at peak times. Similarly, if a major incident occurred in the Town Centre, coordination of the existing systems to monitor the incident and response is likely to be difficult.

Hmm… and permanently monitored CCTV would solve that? To quote another part of the same report,

Government’s national CCTV strategy identifies that an estimated 80% of data from CCTV is of questionable quality.

So the report is recommending investing in a central control room, to monitor at all hours CCTV footage that is acknowledged to be of questionable value. It makes as much sense as hiring a conductor for an orchestra where all the instruments are out of tune. It’ll look impressive and coordinated, but the overall result will be barely distinguishable from the chaos that went before.

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