Robbers and burglars getting off ‘scot-free’ as police do not recover enough CCTV footage, says Havering councillor

Roger Evans AM has said that private CCTV footage can be used to catch criminals. Photo: Ray Sadri

Roger Evans AM has said that private CCTV footage can be used to catch criminals. Photo: Ray Sadri - Credit: Archant

Robbers and burglars may be getting off “scot-free” because police are recovering CCTV footage for just a fifth of crimes, a Havering councillor has claimed.

London-wide, in the past 12 months, of the 141,565 crimes committed, police retrieved CCTV for just 23,278.

Acting in his capacity as London Assembly member for Havering and Redbridge, Cllr Evans said: “While CCTV is meant to be there to protect us from crime, these figures demonstrate that they are rarely used.

“Instead, serious crooks such as robbers and burglars may be getting off scot-free for one in five crimes because the available CCTV is not even recovered.”

Cllr Roger Evans, who obtained the statistics using Freedom of Information powers, is now calling on the Met to create a “digital map” showing locations of private CCTV cameras.

The footage from which can then be retrieved, should a crime take place nearby.

Cllr Evans suggested that the police look to American cities such as Philidelphia and New Orelans where they have run high-tech schemes to crack down on crime.

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Officers in those cities can locate cameras on a digital map and instantly contact the owners for footage if a crime takes place.

Cllr Evans said: “Victims in Havering repeatedly tell me that too often in spite of existing CCTV of the crime, no investigation using this evidence seems to take place.

“With limited resources the police should be working more closely with private CCTV owners across Havering as the costs are minimal for the potential benefits. Havering’s pubs, clubs, shops and offices - who already own private CCTV cameras – should be able to register their details on a central website if they would like to help solve crimes in the area.”

Earlier this year resident Lorraine Moss, 45, caught the violent mugging of a pensioner on a CCTV camera mounted on her home in Carlilse Road, Romford. But Havering Police retrieved the recordings only after being contacted by the Recorder.

This week Mrs Moss’ neighbour retrieved archived footage of the incident which shows the assailants’ identity more visibly. The police refused to take the footage.

Detective Sergeant Tony Costanza, from Havering’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This is an ongoing investigation where CCTV is a line of enquiry.

“The borough uses CCTV as an important tool to solve crime and often uses it as evidence.