Recent Advanced CCTV Installations
CCTV – Crime Prevention in Hospitals
By Terry Cocks, Camden police, Crime Prevention Unit
Crime in hospitals is a very real concern and one that needs to be addressed. The two major crimes are theft and offences against the person.
Theft in the hospitals seems to take two forms, patients, staff or visitors having property stolen by opportunists and offices being broken into to steal computer related property.
The theft from staff, patients and visitors is very easy to understand. When someone is relaxed or distracted they will not be aware of the possible threat to their property. Opportunists prey upon this vulnerability and as a result have rich pickings. What of course makes it so much easier for the opportunist is the ease with which they can remain anonymous and then escape from the scene of the crime.
Burglary in the form of offices being broken into is again easy to understand. Unrestricted access, even at night time, will give the burglar all the opportunity they need.
Levels of crime in hospital car parks and the surrounding streets are also on the increase. Vehicles left in either of these locations, often by someone who is unfamiliar with the area, will usually be unattended for anywhere up to two hours. What more incentive does the thief need? Hospitals should examine charging for visitor parking, the revenue from which could be used to upgrade car parks to “Secure Car Park” status. “Secure Car Park” is part of the Association of Chief Police Officers –ACPO, Secured by Design Award Scheme.
More recent times have also seen a number of attacks on members of staff, male and female, going to and from work.
Offences against the person in the form of assault have become a regular occurrence in hospitals. A&E areas have suffered the brunt of this but it is not restricted wholly to these areas. Anywhere within the hospital where emotions are running high, maternity and intensive care units in particular, are potentially a risk. What has been done to counter the threat of violence against visitors, patients and staff varies enormously. However it is common to see uniform security staff and physical security, CCTV and panic alarms, used in risk areas.
Increasingly hospitals, especially within the inner city, have had to cope with a new problem of drug use and homeless persons.
The drug user is always on the lookout for a dry, well-lit and unobserved spot to indulge in his/her habit. A hospital complex will very often provide these very elements either in or outside the hospital. Within the hospital the numerous public toilets will suffice and outside there are usually any number of recessed doors (see link to recessed pest guide), fire escapes etc, to use. The drug use problem seems to be compounded if the hospital offers a needle exchange facility. Not only will the drug user leave behind drug taking paraphernalia they will often use their chosen site as a toilet. The health implications are all too obvious. Once a safe haven for drug use has been identified it will be used until such times, as the site is rendered unusable.
Government ‘Crime Reduction’ Initiative
The £153 million CCTV Initiative in England and Wales is an extension to the Government's Crime Reduction Programme, announced in July 1998. It is being managed jointly by the Home Office, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) and the National Assembly for Wales. The first round of the Initiative took place in 1999 and has so far resulted in awards of over £55 million to schemes that successfully met the funding criteria. Details of the awards appear on the Home Office Website. The second round of the Initiative, which will be in the form of a two-year rolling programme of funding, begins in March 2000.
Depending upon the results of local crime audits, crime and disorder reduction partnerships may wish to use CCTV to deal with:
This is an illustrative list only. CCTV proposals may be designed to address a variety oftypes of crime.
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