Mayor Boris Johnson has unveiled proposals to give the Metropolitan Police live access to Transport for London’s network of traffic cameras in a bid to help cut crime.
Currently officers must make separate data requests every time they require information collected by TfL’s 1,300 London Congestion Charging Zone and London-wide Low Emission Zone cameras. Granting the Met direct access to the network would save time and aid the force in both reactive and proactive investigations.
Allowing the Met direct access to footage and data collected by the cameras was a key commitment in the Mayor’s re-election manifesto at 2012’s elections.
However a City Hall briefing document, first reported last September by MayorWatch, warned that the proposal “is significant and may be controversial” with some sections of the public.
The document also warned that building a separate camera network for the Met “would be vastly more expensive” than sharing TfL’s.
Despite his electoral mandate to implement the changes the Mayor is to hold a public engagement exercise.
From 11 February until 8 April 2014, Londoners will be able to give their views by visiting the Talk London online community at www.talk.london.gov.uk.
On Tuesday the Mayor said: “I want London to be the safest big city in the world and, to help us continue to drive down crime, we need to use technology in a smart way. Opening up access to TfL’s extensive network of cameras will enable the Met to track down more criminals and crack down on more crimes.”
Detective Superintendent Neil Winterbourne said: “We don’t need and can’t afford two of everything, so we think the Met and TfL should co-operate to get the most out of ANPR cameras the public have already paid for. We also want to listen to concerns people have.
“We welcome the opportunity to be more transparent and to explain just how tightly we manage our access to and use of this data. We hope this will give people the confidence and reassurance they need.”