District’s CCTV cameras helped police make 274 arrests in a year

Inside the council's CCTV control room

The district’s CCTV cameras helped police arrest 274 people last year, according to figures released by Canterbury City Council.

The authority operates a 24-hour control room which over the 12-month period captured more than 3,000 incidents.

As well as the arrests, camera operators were able to provide support for 1,667 public order incidents and searched for 285 missing people over 2017.

They also aided the fire or ambulance services 204 times as they helped the emergency services support people attempting suicide or those vulnerable through the consumption of alcohol, drugs or suffering with health problems.

Cllr Neil Baker, the council’s communities chairman, believes the figures demonstrate the merit of the CCTV system.

Cllr Neil Baker: cameras keep us safe

He said: “The district is home to thousands of residents, hundreds of businesses, is a thriving tourist destination not least because of the draw of Canterbury Cathedral and boasts three universities so there are huge numbers of people who expect us to help keep them safe, prevent crime and help Kent Police to catch criminals 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

“That’s why we are proud of our network of 330 cameras, 96 of which are public facing.

“Canterbury recently received the Purple Flag award for its thriving evening and night-time economy and for promoting the safety and wellbeing of its visitors and residents between the hours of 5pm and 5am. Our cameras play a vital role in this.”

The council’s control room also operates Lifeline, a personal alarm and monitoring service which looks after vulnerable and elderly people and has more than 3,500 customers.

Later this year, the council will roll out its camera-controlled car parks using the latest technology available. It will allow drivers to park without needing tickets. Click here to find out more about the new system coming in.


  1. Er… Hooray, or should that read, Umm… Hooray?

    I’m not anti-surveillance. Anything that helps deter criminals, catch villains and put ne’er-do-wells behind bars registers as varying shades of good in my book.

    My ers and ums relate more to the stats. More than 3,000 incidents but only 274 arrests? That’s not even 10% so what happened to the other c.2,800 perpetrators of sundry crimes?

    Also, of the 274 people who had their collars felt, how many were successfully prosecuted for their misdemeanors? Having a chat with the Old Bill is no longer a deterrent: long gone are the pre-PACE days of being grilled and sweated by the likes of Detective Inspector Jack Regan! It’s the Court appearance and sentencing which gets into the media and triggers the name/shame deterrence. As the old lags in gaol are wont to say “Those who can’t do the time are less likely to do the crime”

    Recently, the Guardian reported that more that 90% of all crimes go undetected, for which read, >90% of malefactors have more than a very good chance of getting away with their malefaction.
    That’s not very comforting is it?
    Please believe me, I’m not having a cheap swipe at CCTV. It performs a task and as various crime shows have and news reports have demonstrated, it can provide invaluable support to the emergency and security services.
    That’s slightly more comforting.

    On a brighter note, most murders and the majority of serious crimes in the UK are solved/cleared up. Given that Canterbury is relatively free of murderers, serial sex attackers and bank blaggers (daddy, daddy, what’s a bank branch?) a reasonably fair question must surely be. What exactly are the City’s 330 CCTV cameras (of which only a mere 96 face the public) aiming at/focusing on?

    I suppose my point is made by the three items shown at the bottom of the article, which go under the title “related” These are (street) litter, vandalism (graffiti) and litter (fly-tipping) all of which, if my eyes don’t deceive me are growth industries in Canterbury. Well, they would be, wouldn’t they, if selfish litterbugs, spray painting vandals and criminal fly-tippers have more than a 90% chance of getting away with it.

    Ending with a Q to Cllr Neil Baker. Can we have a breakdown of the 3,000 incidents recorded, the details of the 274 arrests, a report on the number of the latter successfully prosecuted and for what crimes exactly. By understanding how CCTV “keeps us safe” we can have more faith in it and perhaps help CCC focus (arf arf) on areas where it is most needed.

  2. I agree with the above comment. Nobody does anything with the CCTV images and so all that money is down the drain, unusual for Canterbury see Sturry rd widening , Whitefriars to name 2 glaring examles


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