Police + CCTV

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  • Police + CCTV

    Any info would be great but ideally relating to English police practice.

    If a crime has been committed in a building, and they have CCTV footage from the building, would they show it to the victim to see if they recognise anyone who could be the suspect?

  • #2
    Re: Police + CCTV

    I think doing so would be a violation of privacy. They may show single-frame prints from the feed, out of context, to see if someone recognizes a face but they wouldn't sit someone down and play the security footage for them.
    Vancouver Screenwriters Meetup Group

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    • #3
      Re: Police + CCTV

      Originally posted by ReneC View Post
      I think doing so would be a violation of privacy. They may show single-frame prints from the feed, out of context, to see if someone recognizes a face but they wouldn't sit someone down and play the security footage for them.
      Not sure I understand your point. You're saying showing moving images could be construed an invasion of privacy but showing stills from the same feed isn't? How does that work?

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      • #4
        Re: Police + CCTV

        The key is any prints that police show would be of individual faces, with as much of the background (the context) cut out as possible.

        What if a friend or family member was seen in that context? What would you think? Having the police show you a picture and ask about them is bad enough, but seeing them on security footage is much worse, especially if the footage places them somewhere they ought not be.

        Look at the flack over Google Streetview. How many complaints did they receive because someone familiar was seen somewhere they shouldn't have been? That's an invasion of privacy.
        Vancouver Screenwriters Meetup Group

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        • #5
          Re: Police + CCTV

          Why don't you call up your local constabulary and ask them?

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          • #6
            Re: Police + CCTV

            Originally posted by ReneC View Post
            What if a friend or family member was seen in that context? What would you think? Having the police show you a picture and ask about them is bad enough, but seeing them on security footage is much worse, especially if the footage places them somewhere they ought not be.

            Look at the flack over Google Streetview. How many complaints did they receive because someone familiar was seen somewhere they shouldn't have been? That's an invasion of privacy.
            I see where you're coming from but I think it's undermined by the fact that the police would only be showing the victim, not the relatives of the people caught on CCTV. As for Streetview, that info was being made public, this is for police eyes only. However, it's clear it isn't so clear cut to answer.

            I didn ask my local constab but they declined to comment. I must've looked suspicious, lol.

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            • #7
              Re: Police + CCTV

              Is the camera privately owned? If it is in a private building then it almost certainly would be. In which case data protection laws mean the victim, if they are on the tape, has the right to see those tapes (or mpeg these days) and the building owner who operates the CCTV has to provide a copy. The operator could blur other people on the tape if they would have had an expectation of privacy, say the CCTV was of a doctors waiting room. If the CCTV is of a public space then they may not need to blur anyone out.
              If they are a public authority owned CCTV then the Freedom Of Information Act applies, unless other people are in the video in which case data protection would protect their right to privacy and the video would be exempt.

              So in a private CCTV case if you were mugged, for example, you'd have the right to see the tape but if it is a state owned CCTV you wouldn't.
              However if it is part of a criminal investigation then the Police may be able to stop it being released.
              They have 40 days to provide a copy BTW.

              See here for info.

              However, as with all scriptwriting, you can do what you want and very few people would ever know for certain you were wrong, if you actually were.
              Last edited by zz9; 05-18-2011, 04:44 PM. Reason: Edited to clarify.

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              • #8
                Re: Police + CCTV

                If a crime has been reported and an investigation underway, the police have access to the footage, private or otherwise. In most cases it would be handed over voluntarily. If not, a court order could require its production as part of the criminal investigation. In all cases it would be shown to the victim to try and identify the assailant or robber. I'm assuming the alleged crime took place in an apartment where no recording was made, and the CCTV captured people entering or exiting the building. If the victim identified someone from the footage, I believe that suspect would still be put in a line-up and the victim asked to identify again. The purpose of the CCTV is to deter crime. I know of no reason it would not be shown to the victim. The police still have to prove that a crime was committed.

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                • #9
                  Re: Police + CCTV

                  Thx for the responses.


                  Originally posted by Scriptonian View Post
                  I'm assuming the alleged crime took place in an apartment where no recording was made, and the CCTV captured people entering or exiting the building.
                  Bingo.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Police + CCTV

                    Originally posted by 1mper1um View Post
                    Any info would be great but ideally relating to English police practice.

                    If a crime has been committed in a building, and they have CCTV footage from the building, would they show it to the victim to see if they recognise anyone who could be the suspect?
                    this would be a silly move by the police. if they had the victim pick from a line up or photo array and then they matched the person they picked with a suspect on the video then it's a much stronger case.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Police + CCTV

                      NikeeGoddess,

                      I would think the police would need some probable cause to subject citizens to a line-up. First you have the problem of identifying all the people coming and going in the CCTV footage, eliminating those who live in the building who the victim knows are not the suspect, and then rounding up the others for a criminal line-up. The police would have to ascertain and line-up new residents to the building (possible suspects) who going from one apartment/floor to another would not be caught on the CCTV, which usually covers front and rear entrances/exits.

                      If the victim made a positive (strong) identification from the film footage, there would be no need for a later line-up I don't think, unless the film captured the suspect from behind and no facial view is on the tape. In that case, the victim is identifying the body type, meaningless without a later positive ID via line-up or police photo. To make it easy, the script might have a clear picture of the suspect hurrying away, with a good view of the suspect's facial, hair, body, and clothes characteristics that the victim has already described to the police. The victim quickly and easily picks out the suspect in watching the footage.

                      Police still have to prove a crime was committed, but if the suspect identified from the footage had no reason to be in the building, and had no verified alibi in visiting some other resident of the building, there would be probable cause for an arrest. The suspect's defense likely would be an invitation to the victim's apartment; in such case the suspect must establish meeting or knowing the victim beforehand.

                      These cases of his word/her word usually come down to forensic evidence (struggle in the room, physical injury to victim), medical evaluations, and lie detector tests. Whether the crime is incidental or critical to the story might determine how through should be the criminal identification process.
                      Last edited by Scriptonian; 05-19-2011, 07:24 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Police + CCTV

                        It seems like everyone is responding (correct me if I'm wrong) from a US/Canadian perspective rather than a UK perspective. I don't think that addresses the OP's question. Despite similarities, UK law and US law are very different, as are issues such as privacy and police practices.

                        Pretty sure in the UK if you litter you get locked in the tower for 5-8 years.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Police + CCTV

                          Originally posted by sbbn View Post
                          It seems like everyone is responding (correct me if I'm wrong) from a US/Canadian perspective rather than a UK perspective. I don't think that addresses the OP's question. Despite similarities, UK law and US law are very different, as are issues such as privacy and police practices.

                          Pretty sure in the UK if you litter you get locked in the tower for 5-8 years.
                          The feeling here is exactly the opposite. Police now won't bother with any shoplifter where they have taken less than £200, about $300, and we're amazed to read of people in the US being ticketed for jaywalking, an offence that just doesn't exist here except for on motorways. We can also refuse to give our name and address to a police officer, something that in many US states is an arrestable offence in itself, and when driving we don't have to carry any ID or licence.
                          The feeling here, IMHO, is that the US is far tougher on crime. But maybe I've been reading the Daily Mail too much...

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                          • #14
                            Re: Police + CCTV

                            Originally posted by zz9 View Post
                            The feeling here is exactly the opposite. Police now won't bother with any shoplifter where they have taken less than £200, about $300, and we're amazed to read of people in the US being ticketed for jaywalking, an offence that just doesn't exist here except for on motorways. We can also refuse to give our name and address to a police officer, something that in many US states is an arrestable offence in itself, and when driving we don't have to carry any ID or licence.
                            The feeling here, IMHO, is that the US is far tougher on crime. But maybe I've been reading the Daily Mail too much...
                            Wow, no tower, huh? That's a disappointment. Here in the US it depends a lot on where you are and the local police dept. And the DA's approach. I guess in theory a person could be ticketed for jaywalking where I live... but that never happens. The "toughness" on crime varies from area to area, town to town. In my city if you get charged with selling drugs there is a good chance you're going to prison for a while. In a city about 30 miles from mine if you commit murder you'll probably get probation. Hell, I think if you sell drugs there they give you a business license.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Police + CCTV

                              there are areas in my town where they ticket for jaywalking but only when police are actually directing foot traffic (which they do daily). they also have a law that if a pedestrian is in a crosswalk (whether they have the right away or not) all vehicles must stop for them. i guess if they're jaywalking it's fair game to try and run them down.
                              they give business licenses to people who sell drugs all the time too. it's call a pharmacy.

                              but none of this has anything to do with police and CCTV so just ignore it.

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