CCTV cameras are a common sight in many city centres and outside public buildings. We are consistently reassured that they’re installed with the wellbeing of the public in mind, and to deter any possible criminal activity. Have you ever wondered, though, how exactly the footage captured by these cameras is used for investigating a crime?

The science behind CCTV cameras is intricate, with cameras being designed either to capture a wide area for contextualisation or be precisely focused in order to identify suspects clearly. Cameras can also be covert (completely hidden from view) or overt (to emphatically warn criminals that they can be seen). High quality CCTV footage is often crucial in the success of an investigation and can be the key difference between a criminal being brought to justice or getting off the hook.

The process of retrieving and handling CCTV footage is thorough and clearly defined. Investigators must access the footage, watch through it, take key notes and decide whether or not to use it in criminal proceedings. It must also be handled with great care; footage cannot be manipulated or interfered with and must be handled consistently and properly throughout the entire investigation.

For an informed guide on how CCTV is used in the investigation of crimes, check out the infographic below from JMC Technologies (



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