An extract from today's BBC News report
Huge investment in closed-circuit TV technology has failed to cut UK crime, a senior police officer has warned.
Det Ch Insp Mick Neville said the system was an "utter fiasco" - with only 3% of London's street robberies being solved using security cameras.
Although Britain had more cameras than any other European country, he said "no thought" had gone into how to use them.
Det Ch Insp Neville heads a unit which is piloting a new database to track offenders using CCTV.
Speaking at the Security Document World Conference in London, Det Ch Insp Neville, the head of the Met's Visual Images, Identifications and Detections Office (Viido), said one of the problems was that criminals were not afraid of cameras.
|| There's no fear of CCTV. Why
don't people fear it? [They think] the cameras are not working
Det Ch Insp Mick Neville Metropolitan Police
He also said more training was needed for officers who often avoided trawling through CCTV images "because it's hard work".
"CCTV was originally seen as a preventative measure," the Guardian quotes him as saying.
"Billions of pounds has been spent on kit, but no thought has gone into how the police are going to use the images and how they will be used in court. It's been an utter fiasco: only 3% of crimes were solved by CCTV.
"There's no fear of CCTV. Why don't people fear it? [They think] the cameras are not working."
CCTV operators also needed more feedback to ensure they felt "valued", he said.
Det Ch Insp Neville's unit is now piloting a new database of CCTV images which police hope will help track and identify offenders.
The unit is also looking at ways of using software which can follow distinctive brand logos on the clothing of unidentified suspects.
|| The contribution of CCTV to the
detection of crime is likely to equal that of DNA and fingerprints
Graeme Gerrard, Deputy Chief Constable of Cheshire Police
In addition, from next month, his team will be putting images of suspects in muggings, rape and robbery cases on the internet.
"If criminals see that CCTV works they are less likely to commit crimes," Det Ch Insp Neville added.