There are between 4 million and 6 million CCTV surveillance cameras in the UK, according to a report from the British Security Industry Association (BSIA).

The report, entitled ‘The Picture Is Not Clear’, was originally published in 2013 and estimates the number of cameras in over 200 sectors of the economy, ranging from schools to local shops and even sewage works.

The BSIA claim it is the most comprehensive report into the numbers and usage of CCTV cameras in the UK to date.

Using a complex methodology, the BSIA produced a high, low and medium figure for each sector and then added the number together to say that the low estimate is 4 million cameras, the medium estimate is 4.9 million and the high estimate is nearly 6 million.

Importantly, they counted ALL CCTV surveillance cameras, regardless of whether they face the public or not.

Previous studies have produced figures ranging from 1.85 million to 4.2 million.

This study represents the most comprehensive and up to date study undertaken into the number of CCTV cameras in use in the UK.  There is no single reliable source of data so no-one will ever truly know the exact figure. However the middle of the BSIA’s range suggests that there are around 5 million cameras.  A key finding of the research is that the proportion of cameras controlled by local government is around 1 in 70.  The government’s current regulation whilst welcome will initially cover only a tiny proportion of CCTV systems and these are already the most professionally run and tightly controlled schemes.

Companies are actually funding the majority of the nation’s CCTV on the basis that it delivers a clear return on investment and this is where the majority of footage used by Police is sourced.  Effective CCTV schemes are an invaluable source of crime detection and evidence for the Police. For example in 2009, 95 per cent of Scotland Yard murder cases used CCTV footage as evidence.

Pauline Norstrom, vice chair of the BSIA’s CCTV section, said, “There is a popular misconception that the camera population in the UK is owned by the Government. The BSIA statistics set the record straight once and for all. It is private businesses who own the material camera population, not the Government. Day to day, these cameras are not available to the Government and law enforcement agencies, they are busy working to protect their owner’s premises.

“It is only when a major crime occurs, that the Police ask business owners if they have captured any footage of criminals passing through the private cameras field of view. Without the help of businesses investing into their privately-owned systems, the Police would only have access to the one publically-owned camera per 1,000 head of population.”

CCTV systems are becoming more prominent in the protection of homes and businesses. For more information about our CCTV systems, please contact us.

A full copy of the 2013 report can be obtained from the BSIA.