"... Massive investment in CCTV cameras to prevent crime in the UK has failed to have a significant impact, despite billions of pounds spent on the new technology, a senior police officer piloting a new database has warned. Only 3% of street robberies in London were solved using CCTV images, despite the fact that Britain has more security cameras than any other country in Europe ..."Yeah ... this is what happens when you don't do enough research before implementing a plan. Cameras to not PREVENT crimes, they simply help with convictions...if you are lucky enough to get a criminal who is stupid enough to look directly into the camera. Then there are those criminals who are smart enough to wear non-descriptive clothes - something that will make them blend into the general pop. or clothes (such as extra large hoodies) which cover their face.
If they prevented crime then you would never hear of a bank robbery. I don't know why they didn't consult with cities such as Chicago or New York to see how they handle things.
"... Use of CCTV images for court evidence has so far been very poor, according to Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, the officer in charge of the Metropolitan police unit. "CCTV was originally seen as a preventative measure,"Yes this makes sense also. Most systems will use a cheap camera to keep price down. Or they are set so high that resolution is lost. Or they are b/w ... fixed focused ... high lux factors (lower the lux number the better the photo in the dark).
Plus there is always the 'human factor' in all of it.
An overworked police force that relies completely or too much on the photos and don't do enough leg work to accompany it, leaves itself wide open for criticisms that will get the criminals off the hook.
Now it sounds like they are trying to build a national image database the same way many police forces have national finger-print database ... thing is, while the database can connect a criminal with crimes it doesn't do much good if they don't know who the criminal is, or they can't make the charges stick.
Its a great idea - it really is. Now they just need to get the cops to use it in the way it was meant to be used. After all, a system can only be as good as those who impliment it.