Friday, 25 June 2010

Support for CCTV from Scottish MSP

My attention was caught by this snippet of debate from Fergus Ewing, Scottish National Party, today in the Scottish Parliament.

On Monday, I attended Strathclyde Police headquarters to look at the force's work on CCTV evidence at its digital media intelligence unit. In paragraph 1.1 of his report, Sheriff Principal Bowen says that one reason for the length of and increase in the number of cases is CCTV evidence. I am sure that members who have seen CCTV footage are well aware of its value in providing evidence to help to secure prosecutions, particularly for offences against the person.

When I visited Hamilton to view late-night work to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour, I saw a gruesome piece of footage. It showed a gentleman who, after a good night out, was waiting at a bus stop and decided to have a little sleep on the grassy embankment above it. Unfortunately for him, as the CCTV camera recorded all too graphically, while he was asleep he was stabbed repeatedly by two youths. After stabbing him time after time, they came back and had another few stabs—-presumably, just for more pleasure. Rightly, the CCTV evidence led to the conviction of those two individuals. I pay tribute to Assistant Chief Constable Ruaraidh Nicholson, ACC George Hamilton, Detective Sergeant Lorraine Anderson and all their colleagues, who do such excellent work in that regard.

CCTV is relevant as a factor in the process and is a great help in securing the objective that many members have described—an early plea. If those who have committed crimes are confronted at an early stage with incontrovertible evidence showing them, on film footage, that they have done so, it makes them somewhat chary of going to a trial, as CCTV cannot expire, die or fail to turn up.