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Volume 407: debated on Friday 20 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many local authorities in the UK have acquired OCTV systems in each of the last five years; what the cost of OCTV is in comparison to CCTV; and whether he has made an assessment of the effectiveness of OCTV in fighting crime. [119118]

The Home Office does not hold information on the number of Open Circuit Television (OCTV) systems acquired by local authorities.The cost comparison between an OCTV system and a conventional Close Circuit Television (CCTV) system is not straightforward owing to the differing natures of the two systems and reasons for their use. An OCTV system comprising of a Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) camera and computerised monitoring station will cost in the order of £12,000 (+ VAT and delivery etc.). A typical single camera CCTV system will cost anything between £8,000 and £30,000 to purchase and install. On running costs, the OCTV system will incur mobile telephone call charges plus any standing charges. The CCTV system will possibly incur leasing fees for the transmission network.To help ensure maximum impact and sustainability of CCTV, a £1.5 million Home Office funded national evaluation programme is being carried out by the Scarman Centre, University of Leicester, on 15 approved CCTV Initiative schemes. However, no assessment has been made of the effectiveness of OCTV in fighting crime.