CCTV has proven instrumental in the convictions of several people today, who appeared in court accused of looting or taking part in the riots in Birmingham city centre and Wolverhampton. Most people convicted have received lengthy custodial sentences, with police warning people who have not yet handed themselves in that through a mix of CCTV footage and public cooperation they will eventually be tracked down.
One man who walked into an Adidas store in Birmingham which had already been broken into in the disturbances stole clothing. He was convicted and jailed after he returned the goods, handed himself in and even pointed himself out on closed circuit tv pictures recorded in Birmingham city centre.
A 25-year-old man who stole from the Armani store in the Mailbox shopping mall was jailed for 20 months. He was caught on CCTV and identified by a blood sample.
Judge William Davis QC, said “No ordinary person could walk the streets of the centre of Birmingham in safety,” he said.
“Thus far, 530 people have been arrested”.
In the wake of police and public sector cuts, one area of investment in Birmingham and the West Midlands which appears to have come out of the riots with increased justification as a deterrent is CCTV installation and maintenance. Without it, many of the convictions would not have been possible.