The Promotion of Public Safety and Crime Reduction Using CCTV Systems

The Promotion of Public Safety and Crime Reduction Using CCTV Systems


The public safety and reduction of crime is a necessity in the survival of the community. As such, researchers such as White (2007) state that community-based police activities are the most effective strategies in the reduction of crime and the promotion of safety within the society. As such, the most results-oriented procedure in the reduction of crime necessitates the existence of collaborative work ethics between the police and the community in a manner that draws police and other outside resources in order to prevent and find a solution to criminal activities. Such, a practice is characterized by an increased flow of information from the community to the police stations through 24/7 neighbourhood watch. It cannot be gainsaid that door-to-door police patrol and other procedures such as the employment of security personnel to safeguard both private and public sectors have resulted in improvement in the public safety (Armitage, 2002, p. 56). However, in some instances, the significance of such traditional means of providing security and reduction of crime in the community is negligible. As a result, recent studies indicate that the overall use of conservative policing measures geared towards attaining high security standards for the  and the overall reduction of crime have not led to the effectiveness of the police in the reduction, and prevention of crime. As such, the police department is faced with the need to find a way of reduction of crime and improve public safety in the UAE (Ditton, 2000, p. 698).

Background of the Study

Research shows that the UAE experiences a relatively lower crime rate than most developed nation. However, the rate at which the UAE experiences crimes have increased over the years raising concern among the law enforcement agencies (Armitage, 2002, p. 56). In addition, these findings show that the private and public sectors are regularly exposed to crimes that can be prevented through the implementation of optimal strategies that will provide the necessary information for the police department at the time of the crime, and in other cases provide sufficient information that will enable the police to successfully investigate a crime. Consequently, the Arabian policing have adopted significant changes in terms of their practices and thinking in a manner that implements the use of technological perspective in their evaluation of strategic plans for effective practices that will augment public safety, the reduction, and prevention of crime (White, 2007, p. 78). These technological changes are implemented in a wide as well as reactive manner, through the use of extensive police resources. The use of police resources in an effective and efficient manner with the assistance of modern technological devices is fundamental to the realization of public safety and reduction of crime (Ditton, 2000, p. 698).

As such, the UAE has opted to use closed-circuit television (CCTV) as a tool for the establishment of safety. As such, the AUE police department has established an extensive use of CCTV systems in order to facilitate the detection, investigation, and reduction of crime (Ditton, 2000, p. 698). As a result, millions of cameras have been installed in the public and private sectors including the bus stations, streets, and businesses. Given the enthusiasm of the United Kingdom that is reflected an extensive installation of approximately 1.9 million CCTV systems by the year 2011, the UAE has followed suit  in the installation of surveillance systems in streets, public, and private business premises (White, 2007, p. 78). Such an extensive installation of surveillance systems provoked in certain instances, public concern with respect to the violation of their privacy rights. On the other hand, a significant proportion of the public who lived in high-crime potential areas have expressed their gratitude and satisfaction as the installation of CCTV systems has significantly reduced the fear of crime. The progress is reflected through a decreased frequency of criminal activities that were experienced in these areas. In addition, the use of CCTV systems has provided an effective means for the police to address the problem presented by a disproportionate distribution of crimes in terms of number of criminal activities taking place in different areas, because it has enabled the department to increase both patrol and surveillance services in areas that face high risks of crimes (Verga, 2011, p. 59).

Therefore, this research seeks to determine the manner in which public safety and the reduction of crime can be ensured through the expansion of police operation centres in UAE to include access to CCTV systems in the public and private sectors. Besides, this research intends to capture an extensive understanding of the manner in which such access will improve police work that entails investigation and prevention of crime, hence the realization of public safety and the reduction of crime in UAE. Additionally the paper thrives to establish the extent to which CCTV systems facilitate the investigation, prevention, and reduction of crime through comparing UAE and the United Kingdom (UK), which are the case study nations. As such, this paper will provide both primary and secondary data from which an evidence-based study will be carried out in order to meet all the set objectives and answer the research questions.

Research Questions

  1. How can the extensive use of CCTV promote public safety in the UAE
  2. What is the role of CCTV in police detection, investigation, and reduction of crime
  3. What options are available for extending UAE police operations centres to access public and private sectors CCTV systems?

Statement of the Problem

The role of technology in the community is a topic that continues to receive a lot of attention from various researchers, scholars and policy makers throughout the world. While some scholars view the detrimental effects of technology, others strive to identify the potential benefits that technology has on the operation of different processes in the world. Accordingly, safety, which is one the most sensitive factors I every country, is considered an area that can gain or lose from advances in technology.  Public and private safety sectors have received a lot of aids from technological advancement, and especially the use of CCTV. The use of CCTV system grew considerably in the private sectors as private firms sought to reduce loss through theft and other means. Recent years have a rapid growth in the use of CCTV systems in both the private, as well as the public sector. However, the integration of CCTV systems with the police department, to increase public safety and reduce the rate of crime is still an elusive factor. Therefore, the research herein investigates the role of CCTV the options for expanding UAE operations centres to include private and public sector CCTV systems. In addition, it aims at examining the manner in which expanded the use of CCTV improves police detection, investigation, and reduction of crimes.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this research is based on assessing the role of CCTV in the creation of public safety and reduction of crime through facilitation of police work. In addition, this research aims at analysing and determining the options for the expansion of the UAE police operations centres to include private and public sector CCTV systems. This is carried out through the creation of a system that accesses the CCTV footage from all Abu Dhabi hotels, Petrol Stations, Shopping Malls, Train Station, and other public accessed places. The data acquired from these CCTV systems are transmitted into a privately operated Police Control Room where they are monitored and analysed.

The study herein seeks to gain comprehensive knowledge on the role of CCTV in the reduction of crime and promotion of public health. Therefore, it is founded with the following objectives:

  1. To critically study the existing literature regarding the role of CCTV in the reduction of crime and the promotion of public safety
  2. To critically study the existing literature regarding the role of CCTV in police detection, investigation, prevention, and reduction of crime.
  3. To evaluate the potential impact of CCTV in the reduction, elimination, detection, and investigation of crimes by analysing data from the literature, interview, and case studies.
  4. To draw valid and objective conclusion regarding the impact and role of CCTV in:
  • Identification and tracking of suspects
  • Provision of powerful evidence in court following successful and thorough investigations
  • Monitoring potentially hazardous situations and facilitate on-time police services in the prevention and reduction of crime
  • Boosting public confidence with cameras acting as a deterrent factor that eliminates fear of crime and creates a perceived state of public safety


Literature Review

The Effectiveness of using CCTV in UAE

This  section of the literature is geared towards capturing the role of CCTV in police detection, investigation, and reduction of crime in order to capture the extent of which the surveillance contributes to the reduction of crime and public safety. Research shows that the effectiveness of CCTV systems in normally assessed through examining crime trends in places that these systems have been installed in terms of comparative analysis of the security and public safety before and after the installation of the surveillance cameras. However, research also shows that the use of CCTV is a cost effective and result-oriented since it provides on-scene information in an accurate manner that provides indubitable evidence during investigations. As such, findings obtained from Armitage (2002) states that unlike human resource, CCTV systems are not subject to fatigue, human errors, and inconsistencies. Additionally, research indicates that the UAE has highly benefited from the extensive use of CCTV systems in the detection, in addition to the investigation of criminal activities as it provides crucial information in crime-solving stage of the investigation. In addition, Welsh and Farrington (2004) assert that CCTV systems that are installed in the streets of the UAE are and connected to the police operations centre are not sufficient in providing information that will lead to the overall reduction of crimes and the realization of public safety.

Numerous literatures support the importance of using CCTV systems (Arnaout & Slavin, 2013, p. 139). As such, the majority of writers capitalizes on outlining the advantages of using security cameras in varying settings, including homes, public places, and private facilities (Arnaout & Slavin, 2013, p. 139). Nonetheless, Ibrahim (2012) positions that such systems elevate states’ security status quo and that schools and private organization should be shifting their focus towards the installation, maintenance, and sustainable use of CCTV gadgets. Research shows that the extensive use of CCTV has facilitated police work in terms ofthe reduction of crime, and improved public safety in the UK and the UAE. Additionally, researchers assert that the most significant improvements in public safety and reduction of crime are realized in public areas such as car parks, public transport, city and town centres, public housings, and other private organizations (Arnaout & Slavin, 2013, p. 139).

Research conducted by Welsh and Farrington (2004, p. 513) shows that the use of CCTV in the ensuring public safety and reduction of crime is ineffective unless, the systems in both public and private sectors are connected to the police operations centre in a way that they can be managed and addressed by the police. Therefore, the installation of the CCTV system that has no a competent security operator to analyse, manage, and keep tabs of the happening in the covered areas is a waste of resources, as it does not result in a safety or reduction of crime. Such a practice will not only ensure that the police gain access to useful information but also that the surveillance recordings are protected from theft and editing (Armitage, 2002, p. 63).  As such, the connection of CCTV in the public and private sector of the police operations centre enable the police department to collect, utilize, share, as well as keep track of useful information that enable them to implement effective change strategies in the control of crime in the society. Therefore, an assortment of public and private sector  organizations have implemented  CCTV  systems in their premises so as to smooth the progress of realizing  a crime-free  working environment, however, optimal results can only be realized if the recorded information is used by San effective security organizations to address and reduce crime. In this case, the police department is the most significant security system (White, M. D. (2007, p. 79).  As a result, the UAE has implemented the connection of CCTV surveillance systems to the police operations centres to improve public safety and control both the perceptions and amplified fear of criminal deeds in the streets, and places of residence, and business premises.

Clearly, UAE experiences an extensive use of CCTV and security camera usage (Arnaout & Slavin, 2013, p. 139). The idea that the UAE is not an exception among countries that enjoy the benefits of CCTVs rises as  indicated that such gadgets are extremely common within UAE cities. For example, the premise cites that most UAE cities (especially Abu Dhabi and Dubai) make extensive use of close circuit television.

CCTV Systems as a Security Device

This part of the litarature seeks to establish the suitability of cctv system in police work in terms of promotion of public safety through facilitating security measures. The provision of public safety through the reduction of crime is a vital responsibility that the police department takes seriously. Therefore, the police department in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has implemented various strategies that aim at reduction of crime in the streets, at residential areas, and in the private and public sector organizations (Perry-Kessaris, 2006, p. 114). The promotion of public safety and reduction of criminal activities is realized through on-time delivery of life-saving police services to citizens at the time when the criminal activity is taking place, or perhaps in crime potential areas, hence preventing crime and violence in the community (Welsh & Farrington, 2004, p. 512). As such, law enforcement bodies have resorted in using technology as a tool for the provision of public safety in the form of general prevention, and reduction of criminal tendencies. This is because, UAE faces a range of crimes that are unlikely to be addressed through the use of conventional practices such as police patrol. Such crimes include cybercrime, terrorism, car-related crimes, human trafficking, street crimes such as mugging, and robbery with violence among other crimes (Verga, 2011, p. 55).

Numerous reasons can be used to support UAE and Abu Dhabi’s move to deploy countless CCTV gadgets with their private and public spheres (Arnaout & Slavin, 2013, p. 139). For example, Yin (2011) provides that the systems have proven to be of significant use, especially as instruments of surveillance and security appliances.  Clearly, the statement follows as Ibrahim (2012)proposes that such systems provide an opportunity for specific individuals (especially security personnel) to not only view what happens, but also stores video records of activities that take place within a restricted range. As such, Almutairi (2012) emphasizes that most CCTV systems are used by private and public security companies in their pursuit to maintain order and public security.

However, Arnaout and Slavin (2013) insist that CCTV systems are used within limited areas is subject to misinterpretations. For example, unlike Yin (2011, p. 32)whose stand is that such digital gadgets mostly exist and function within fixed ranges such as schools, retails, and hospitals, Yin (2011)affirms that CCTV experience extensive application in Abu Dhabi’s open spaces. Ibrahim (2010) further suggests that gadgets are positioned in open areas including city centres and main roads and that most of the cameras installed in public places are managed by security professionals who seek to uphold the UAE’s populaces’ well-being. As such, Ibrahim (2012) reveals that CCTV systems used as gadgets for surveillance have a pronounced ability to produce clear and quality pictures that enable security firms and the police to identify law offenders and keep their images as proofs for prosecution if the need arises. It goes without saying that such gadgets have played a prime role in elevating the UAE security status. Therefore, it is safe to mention that the gadget experience, extensive usage in private and public scenarios as tools to prevent the destruction of property and individual harms that emanate from criminal activities. Additionally, Almutairi (2012) mentions that such gadgets have a wide scope of view and that their ability to capture what goes on in different environmental settings at the same time increases security personnel’s physical coverage on surveillance, therefore, increasing their ability to uphold safety and security. Furthermore, Ibrahim (2012) centres his argument on the notion that such gadgets provide time-lapse, real-time, digitally recorded events or activities and that such information is significantly helpful in the detection, investigation, responding, and providing evidence for safety and security-centred incidences.

On the other hand, Yin (2011) postulates that CCTV systems are not restricted to providing information related to safety issues. Furthermore, Ibrahim (2010) argues that the idea that CCTV are only used to monitor security-related events are notably shallow as it fails to acknowledge their applicability in security personnel active functions. For example, Almutairi (2011) proposes that most UAE banks and business entities position CCTV gadgets at entries and exits, thereby enabling security professionals to control the movement of individuals in and out of the premises.  Moreover, Ibrahim (2012) supports both sides of the argument and affirms that placing CCTV gadgets at business entities’ entrances not only enables organizations’ safe keepers to control the flow of individuals out and in of business premises but also provide protection against security breach as they allow security officers to monitor access managing systems.

CCTV Systems in Public Transport

This section of the literature captures the manner in which CCTV systems reduces crime in public sector thereby enhacing police detection, investigation, and reduction of crime. This section mentions that CCTVs are not only used in closed areas, but also in open spaces as instruments to support and expand surveillance (Arnaout & Slavin, 2013, p. 139).  For example, Almutairi (2012) affirms that closed circuit television gadgets get installed in variant areas including main roads, and city centres in order to increase security supervision and safety.  As such, Almutairi (2011) proposes that current trends see to it that CCTVs are used to monitor roads and open areas that are prone to traffic crimes.  The idea that CCTV covers larger geographical area than individual security personnel is, perhaps, the force behind increased installation of CCTV cameras in prime cities that exist within the UAE (Arnaout & Slavin, 2013, p. 139). Additionally, Ibrahim (2010) affirms that most cameras used in areas, traffic-related problems are of high resolution giving them the capacity to enable the identification of small figures including vehicle number plates.

However, Yin (2011) proposes that CCTV gadgets are not only involved in maintaining security, but also supporting the maintenance of public order. Additionally, Ibrahim (2012) positions that such gadgets have been proven capable of reducing traffic jams and system failures and other deliberate undesirable incidences that have greatly diminished since the Abu Dhabi police department stepped-up the installation of closed circuit televisions in the main roads and cities. Similarly, Almutairi (2011) exposes that UAE has greatly reduced the amount of financial resources used for surveillance and that guard towers are no longer needed for security to be provided for its roads. Additionally, Yin (2011) supports Almutairi (2012) by stating that such lengthy, unexpected, and costly trips have been replaced by CCTV systems that provide platforms for security personnel and traffic monitors to view events at real time. Consequently,  Ibrahim (2010) confirms that closed circuit gadgets have lowered the occurrence of traffic disorders and that relevant bodies are capable of viewing pre-recorded facts remotely using technologies such as fibre optics, telephone lines, the internet, and microwave.

It, therefore, should not go unsaid that close digital surveillance systems have increased UAE’s capacity to monitor and control its traffic. Clearly, the idea that the globe purposes to shift  its attention towards evaluating questioning the use of CCTV surveillance techniques by examining  ethical issues that surround their usage calls for a thorough reconsideration as Arnaout and  Slavin (2013) affirms that human safety exists among humans’ most fundamental requirements. As such, Yin (2011) avow that CCTV cameras placed at strategic points within UAE roads contribute heavily towards detection and investigation of safety issues and that they enable security forces to track criminals’ vehicles and movements.  For example, Yin (2011) affirms that a pronounced section of Abu Dhabi’s and Dubai’s road networks have movable cameras and that such cameras are automated to track moving objects. Moreover, Ibrahim (2010) unravels that UAE in installing additional CCTV gadgets to enable security professionals to detect and trace vehicles used by individuals believed to have committed unlawful acts.   On the other hand, Yin (2011) postulates that CCTVs are common in UAE transport and airports make extensive use of such gadgets. For example, Arnaout and Slavin (2013) cite a scenario where most public transport stations such as bus stations, and airports, possesses hundreds of surveillance cameras, which are used to track and record events. However, it should not be misinterpreted that CCTV systems can only be installed in stationary areas. For example, Ibrahim (2010) affirms that most public airplanes have CCTV gadgets and that cameras installed therein send visual signals that can be vied by individuals at airports. It, therefore, follows that CCTVs increase individuals’ capacity to maintain surveillance even in moving bodies.

Other Applications of CCTV                                                                                       

This section provides information about CCTVs’ application within UAE in terms of enhanced economic, political, and actual public safety . Consequently, clear illustrations on how such gadgets improve surveillance and security have been exposed. However, other literatures state that increased surveillance improves the UAE’s security that, in turn, opens up channels for additional developments and investments (Arnaout & Slavin, 2013, p. 139).  For example, Ibrahim (2010) mentions that investors are more likely to support businesses that focuses on maintaining security than those that show minimal interest in protecting their assets. Additionally, Ibrahim (2012) exposes that CCTVs experience a pronounced use in UAE’s industrial sectors where relevant practitioners use such gadgets to monitor processes. For example, Yin (2011) positions that these instruments get installed in areas beyond human access such as within gas, fertilizer, and oil refineries so that technicians can use them to monitor processes and detection of problems. Additionally, Ibrahim (2010) proposes that CCTV gadgets improve the UAE’s economic performance through its application in varied productive fields, including the medical, manufacturing, and security industries.

The Roles of CCTV

The following parts seek to address the second research questions ythrough focusing on various aspect of public safety such as enhanced detection, investigation, and prevention of crime. Numerous literatures agree on the idea that CCTVs have transformed the United Arab Emirates’ security status (Arnaout & Slavin, 2013, p. 139). For example, Ibrahim (2012) positions that closed circuit televisions have done nothing but transform the stated region into a harbour of business activities. As such, Yin (2011) bases the argument on the idea that improved security and safety monitoring increases the chances for investments as business persons get assured of their resources’ protection. As such, the position exposed by Almutairi (2012) is pursuant of the cause-effect theory where increased installation of CCTV cameras increases the extent at which security personnel’s ability to prevent, and prosecute crime. Resultantly, Yin (2011) is of the view that the existence of such gadgets prevents criminal activities within public and private entities as individuals fear committing unlawful acts within areas covered by a CCTV camera.

Effectiveness of CCTV in Crime Detection

Clearly, the idea that places covered by CCTV systems are less likely to experience crime is well founded (Arnaout & Slavin, 2013, p. 139). For instance, Arnaout and Slavin (2013) conducted a case study on private and governmental organization within the United Arab Emirates to examine the relationship between the availability of CCTV installations and vandalism, intrusion, and other prohibited acts.  Consequently, the premise saw to it that organizations that had no CCTV surveillance gadgets experienced a higher level of crimes than those that had CCTV cameras. As such, the research results concur with Dziech and CzyżEwski (2013)  who major their assertions on the hypothesis that CCTV cameras have the ability to reduce the occurrence of unlawful activities and that Abu Dhabi should affect additional installations to protect its populaces and properties from criminals.

However, Arnaout and Slavin (2013) mention that the idea that CCTVs aid in the prevention of crime is highly simplistic and fails to unravel the exact relationship that exists between the two variables. Ibrahim (2012) further opposed that the world is yet to realize computers and robots capability in the detection of crime and execution of the law. Additionally, Almutairi (2012) supports both sides of the view that CCTVs have minimal use without the security persons’ ability to detect and investigate crime. As such, Rowe (2011) provides that such gadgets’ functionality depends on security professionals who use them to extend their monitoring capacity, hence, boosting their ability to view different surroundings at the same time.

Consequently, it goes without saying that CCTVs, when applied in active surveillance, enable security units to maintain a keen observation on covered areas, thereby supporting their objective to monitor and note criminal activities (Shan, 2012, p. 180). Nonetheless, Almutairi (2012) emphasizes that the United Arab Emirates should take a step to expand the utilization of information from CCTVs in crime investigation and prosecution.  For example, Ibrahim (2012) proposes that the information retrieved from close circuit televisions has been useful in the reduction of crime as they promote the chances for individuals who commit crime to be caught. As such, Blechko et al. (2009) do not hesitate that CCTVs improve crime detection and open an opportunity for security officials to stop and catch law offenders.

CCTV and Investigation of Crime

Numerous literatures affirm that CCTVs increase the possibility of security officers to note and detect crime (Shan, 2012, p. 180).  Nonetheless, Dziech and CzyżEwski (2013) mention that most researches that unravel the applicability of CCTVs in crime detection provide insight about ways in which such gadgets can be used in crime investigations. As such, Ibrahim (2012) positions that such instruments provide corroborations to support suit and that law offender has minimal chances getting off the hook when their images portray that they performed prohibited acts. Consequently, Webster (2009) adds that CCTV appliances can be manipulated to store image information that can act as proofs in the courts.

However, the idea that CCTVs provides imaged information that can be used as evidence during trials does not define their effectiveness in full (Ibrahim, 2012, p. 45). On the other hand, Almutairi (2012) exposes that while recorded CCTV signals can be used during the conviction of a crime, Brewer and Brewer (2006) opines that such information may as well be used to prove individuals’ innocence.

Nonetheless, Shan (2012) emphasizes that CCTV cameras and recorded information do not help only in court cases and that most members of United Arab Emirates use such gadgets in preliminary stages that give way to court sessions. As such, Reilly (2010) points out that most security personnel use CCTV to initiate an effective deployment of security guards in crime prone areas or suspicious environment. As such, Jermyn (2007) and Kessaris (2006) postulates that such instruments contribute significantly towards the prevention of crime.

CCTVs in the Prevention of Crime

The idea that CCTVs have the potential to prevent individuals from committing crimes is, perhaps, one of the most challenged allegations (Lorenc et al., 2013, p. 86; Darcan, 2012, p. 53; Allard and John, 2005, p. 523; and Welsh and Farrington, 2007, p. 100). For example, Arnaout and Slavin (2013) support the notion that such gadgets increase security personnel’s scope of view, thereby enhancing their ability to spot environments that are likely to encounter crime and go onwards to prevent the occurrence of crime. However, Blechko et al. (2010) and Perry, Brew (2005) and Farrington (2008) contend that crime, like any other human activity, emanates from human intentions and that CCTVs inability to predetermine human behaviour limits their capacity to prevent crime.

On the other hand, Arnaout and Slavin (2013) argue that the systems prevent crimes because they support individual access supervision   that then prevents individuals who have criminal intentions from accessing their target areas. Moreover, Taylor (2009) mentions that clips captured by CCTV operators provide evidence against crime suits, therefore, providing an opportunity for punishment that then prevent individuals from committing other criminal activities.

The United Arab Emirates Options in Expanding Police Operations Centre’s access to CCTV Surveillance to cover Private and Public Entities

This section is consistent with the concepts of the third research question that focuses on options of the UAE in expanding police operations centre’s access to cctv surveillance to cover private and public sectors’ CCTV systems. According to Taylor (2009), the connection of all public and private sectors’ CCTV systems to the police department operating centres is not a currently applicable option for the UAE. Therefore, the magnitude of the surveillance works that will be placed on the police operations service and the huge cost of implementing such a decision to present a significant challenge to the implementation of such an option  that seeks to expand  police operation centre’s access to public and private sectors’ CCTV systems. This option is applicable  in the event of an emergency of a significant function that leads to the gathering of people in order to improve security in the areas. Furthermore, the UAE has already utilized the option of installing CCTV surveillance cameras in high risks places such as banks and connecting the instant alarm system to the police operations centres. This is effective in enabling the police to detect and convey the message to each other and all security personnel in the initial stages of crime or any suspicious behaviour (Gill et al., 2006, p. 14).

Nonetheless, research shows that the police operations centre is in most cases denied access to information from both private and public sectors. In this case, the police department does not monitor most CCTV systems, thereby, resulting in a scenario where the security surveillance provides very little assistance in the reduction of crime and ensuring public safety. On the other hand, finding obtained from the study conducted by Ditton (2000) shows that the connection of all CCTV in the private and public sector to the police operation sector is not applicable in the real life situation. Such an assertion is anchored in the fact that the magnitude of the surveillance data that will require attention in the police operations centre will be overwhelming for the police department that can only offer a specified number of on-duty officers to monitor the surveillance footage (Perry-Kessaris, 2006, p. 114). However, White (2007) asserts that the implementation of a change strategy requires accurate measurements of all necessary requirements for a change to be beneficial and attainable. As such, taking calculated steps in terms of the number of officers on duty, the number of surveillance footage assigned per officer on duty, the expected working hours, the cost of new equipments, other resources, and labour will definitely lead to the successful connection of CCTV systems from public and private sectors to the police operations centre (Verga, 2011, p. 75). Nonetheless, the implementation of this strategy will necessitates a comprehensive training of police operators in a manner that they can accurately analyse the surveillance footage and provide useful that that will facilitate the police response to the crime scenes, useful information for the investigation, and the formulation of intervention approaches in the high security risk area (Ditton, 2000, p. 702).

As already implied CCTVs appliances have shown the United Arab Emirates’ tremendous efforts towards the curbing of criminal activities (Gill et al., 2006, p. 14; Waples, Gill, and Fisher, 2009, p. 214; Aspland, 2011, p. 45; Beckman et al., 2005, p. 311; and Gill et al., 2006, p. 14). However, the extension of police surveillance to the private and other public sectors remains a challenge to the UAE’s police (Reid and Andresen, 2012, p. 299 and Faull, 2011, p. 224). The argument that CCTVs have reduced the occurrence of crimes in UAE’s public places originates from variant scholars whose argument are up and about mentioning the advantages of CCTV installations both in private and government properties (Ibrahim, 2012, p. 45). For example, Ibrahim (2012) agrees with Dziech and CzyżEwski (2013) and Puslecki (2010) that CCTVs prevent people from engaging in unlawful acts. However, the three use different arguments support their positions. For example, Arnaout and Slavin (2013) expose that CCTVs reduce the probability for the law to be breached because CCTV cameras support the expansion of surveillance as a majority of individuals use areas within CCTV coverage.

As such, the premise provides that CCTV may stop the actualization of criminal intentions as individuals fear the resultant likelihood of apprehensions. Conversely, Ibrahim (2012) believes that both potential initiators and targets to criminal activities have the potential to prevent crime. Nonetheless, the work proposes that people who are cautious of criminal circumstances take to avoid insecurity by utilizing areas covered by CCTV surveillance, thus, preventing crime. Nonetheless, while the two propose that crime is preventable and that the availability of CCTV coverage influences criminals’ and potential targets’ decisions that then prevent insecurity, Almutairi (2012) proposes that CCTVs have minimal ability to prevent crimes. For example, Arnaout and Slavin (2013)   emphasize that crimes that can be committed quickly are likely to happen even in the presence of CCTV cameras as most criminals believe that such crimes will allow them enough time to escape from police officers or avoid cameras.

As such, it is notably clear that the UAE’s options  to expand police operation centre access to CCTV monitoring to private and public entities is well founded on the need to step-up the effectiveness of crime detection, investigation, and prevention (Ibrahim, 2012). Deflem (2008) states that the most effective and legal option of the UAE to extend police operations centre access to the public and private sectors CCTV systems are through the amendment of the existing law. Whereas, the law permits police to access data on private and public sectors’ surveillance systems in case of crime investigation, it does not allow the operation centre to have access to the security system at all times, and it does not permit the police operation centre to access data that are not consistent with the a crime under immediate investigation. Almutairi (2012) affirms that such hindrance slows down the investigation, and detection of crime.

It is, rather, unfortunate that Arnaout and Slavin (2013) find UAE police force’s intention to extend CCTV supervision to private and public sectors  is a typical breach of international agreements with regards to human fundamental rights. Although Arnaout and Slavin (2013) recognize the idea that CCTVs have led to a remarkable reduction of criminal deeds within UAE’s public spheres, the premise is quick to point out that such CCTV camera installation should come after a thorough consideration of human rights’ requirements. As a result,  Ibrahim (2012) states that the choice to amend the constitution in order to allow the UAE police operations centres access to the public and private sectors’ security systems comes with a heavy financial burden. As a result, the UAE will be forced to increase the number of police operations centres, employ more police operators, increase the surveillance equipment such as CCTV cameras and monitors to name but a few (Reid and Andresen, 2012, p. 299. As such, the government will have to make an optimal decision regarding its budget, which will incur extensive costs over a long period.

Consequently, Almutairi (2012) states that the region experiences challenges in its quest to strike a balance between the fundamental human right to confidentiality and the need to uphold security. Furthermore, Arnaout and Slavin (2013) propose that varied stakeholders in the UAE’s private sector complain that the expansion of police surveillance to cover private properties underplays their rights to privacy and position that it should be upon private organizations to report and provide the necessary information about crimes, especially when the crimes happen within their entities.

The idea that the installation of police force’s CCTV appliances in Individual properties is, indeed, open and clear infringement of the individual right to privacy and family life (Dziech & CzyżEwski, 2013, p. 56). For example, Arnaout and Slavin (2013) observe that the Human rights Act mentions that: “Everyone has the right to respect for private and family life, his home and his correspondence.” Consequently, Almutairi (2012) supports Arnaout and Slavin (2013) who provide that the installation of government-operated CCTV gadgets within private properties not only portrays the government’s poor regards towards personal space but also limits individuals’ privacy. Additionally, Almutairi (2012)exposes that the inclusion of private entities under the public surveillance systems is highly discouraged as it would prevent people from engaging in other actions that contribute towards overall productivity  that are not unlawful.

Conversely, Ibrahim (2012) proposes that the UAE is likely to go ahead expanding its surveillance as article 8 of the same law proposes that:  “There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as in accordance with the law and is necessary for a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights or freedoms of others.”  As such, Doyle, Lippert, and Lyon (2012) state that the most effective and legal option of the UAE to extend police operations centre access to the public and private sectors CCTV systems are through the amendment of the existing law.

CCTV Application in the UK and UAE

Just like the UAE, the UK is reorganizing the effectiveness of using CCTV appliances in the prevention of crime. As such, Dziech and CzyżEwski (2013) mention that the UK makes extensive use of CCTV in visible or hidden positions. As such, Levesley & Martin (2005) and Fenwick (2012) observe that, unlike the UAE where CCTV cameras are visible, the UK has more than 40,000 invisible cameras. Most scholars in the field affirm that the expanded use of CCTV has improved and facilitated police detection and investigation of crimes in the UK and the UAE (Brook Lapping Productions, 2008, p. 48; Carey, 2004, p. 55; Clifton, 2012, p. 234; Kessaris, 2006, p. 543; and Ratcliffe et al., 2006, p. 132). These researchers assert that the most significant results are realized in public areas such as car parks, public transport, city and town centres, public housings, and other private organizations (Carey, 2004, p. 55; and Ratcliffe et al., 2006, p. 132). For example, the Guardian (2014) newspaper of the April 9th article gave a comprehensive detail of the manner in which CCTV was used to solve crime in the Cumberland hotel in London. In this case, the CCTV devices provided sufficient identifying information that led to the successful police investigation process. In addition, Clifton (2012) insists that CCTV in the UK is used by the police to provide surveillance service that deters people from engaging in criminal activities, hence, indicating that the area under surveillance is characterized by a state of public safety.

Nonetheless, Warr, Page, and Crossen-White (2005) and Mazeika et al. (2010) position that the two regions differ in terms of the magnitude of CCTV camera installation and that the UK is way ahead (1.85 million CCTV cameras) of the UAE in the number of CCTV cameras installed in public scenes.

However, just like Lyon (2006) exposes, both regions enjoy CCTV applicability in the prevention and investigation of crime. For example, Mawby and Yarwood (2011) cite research that proves that the frequency of terrorist activities has remarkably reduced since the installation of 160 hidden cameras in England. Similarly, Almutairi (2012), Coleman and Mccahill (2011, p. 85), Doyle, Lippert, and Lyon (2012) , and Welsh and Farrington (2009) affirm that CCTV camera installations have reduced the occurrence of criminal activities in Abu Dhabi and that the government therein seeks to expand its CCTV coverage to individual properties to magnify its ability to curb unlawful acts. Nonetheless, the two shows high a high dissimilarity on the idea while the UK is withdrawn by placing private entities under police surveillance, the UAE shows a high level of interest towards expanding the police force’s CCTV surveillance system beyond the public field (Arnaout & Slavin, 2013, p. 139; Sheldon & wright, 2010, p. 45; Granada, 2007, p. 77; Mccahill & Finn, 2014, p. 125; and Ball & Snider, 2013, p. 80).

The above section of the literature review adds extensive value to the available literature through confirmation, denial and modification of literature regarding CCTV. Most of the extant literature does not focus on CCTV and those that focus on CCTV does not focus on the UAE. Therefore, this review of the literature modifies extant literature by focusing on CCTV in the UAE. Moreover, this review of the literature adds value to existing body of knowledge on CCTV through confirming and denying some of the claims expressed in some of the literature. Most of the literature reviewed are related to the interview questions in this research as they express the differences in features such a the laws governing the use of CCTV in the UK as oppose to those in the UAE. For example, while the UK has laws other than the international laws o govern aspects of the use of CCTV, such as privacy laws, the UK does not have laws that govern the use of CCTV, and, therefore, rely on international laws only. As much as the literature agrees that the crimes fought by the use of CCTV are the same in the UK and the UAE, it also denies to some extent the similarity of crimes fought by the use of CCTV in the UK and the UAE. This phenomenon arises due to the differences in acceptable behaviour between the two regions in the world.



The methodological approach performed in this study seeks to gather comprehensive data that will ensure a comprehensive understanding of the role of CCTV in public safety and the reduction of crime. In addition, the research methods that are defined and implemented gather information that makes it possible for the researcher to understand the impact of expanding UAE police operations centres to include access to public and private sector CCTV systems. In addition, these methods facilitate the understanding of the impact of expanded use of CCTV in police detection and investigation of crimes in the UK and the UAE. Therefore, answering of the relevant research question leads to the gathering of information that fall within the scope of the research and obtaining sufficient evidence that meets both the objectives and aims of the study. As such, this study was conducted based on a qualitative design that focussed on multiple case study approach so as to obtain valid data that applies to an international scenario in terms of the implementation of CCTV as an instrument for crime reduction, as well as the improvement of public safety.

Study Design

This research utilizes a qualitative research design. Qualitative research design that is applied in this study is non-experimental in nature and utilizes multiple case study method. The qualitative approach is anchored on the use of both the interview study and analysis of the literature method in the collection of data (Coker, 2003, p. 101). Additionally, an analysis of the literature procedure provides data based on the case study of the UK and the UAE that facilitates comparative analysis of the cases in these two countries in order to draw valid conclusion regarding the use of CCTV in the prevention, investigation, and reduction of crime. As a result, it provides data that offer scientific evidence on the impact of CCTV in enhancing public safety, as well as crime reduction.

The multiple case study technique comes in handy in the study of the real-life situation based on the first hand information provided by respondents  who have experience, ehnce providing credible information regarding the subject matter. As such, the multiple case study approach facilitates contextual analysis of a real-life situation based on the information provided by a small sample size; therefore, obtaining information that reflects the relationship between concepts and variables (Walliman, 2006, p. 65). Consequently, a case study approach provides a stable ground for the qualitative research approaches through placing the real-life experiences of respondents under consideration, therefore, providing a basis for the application of theoretical concepts, as well as generalization of information through drawing objective and practical conclusions (Coker, 2003, p. 101).

Nonetheless, the study of the literature is effective in the collection of useful secondary data. This approach equips the researcher with the ability to identify useful information through critical analysis of data provided by other researchers (Fowler, 1993, p. 86). As such, it identifies the areas of agreement, contradictions, as well as a gaps in information. Besides, the study of literature enables the research to uphold the validity of the data and the drawn conclusion through comparing the primary data gathered from the survey and the secondary data obtained from the study of several researches (Aller & Stone, 1989, p. 142). Therefore, the qualitative research design is the most suitable design for this study as it places, different concepts and phenomena under study in order to ensure conclusive coverage of the subject matter.

The Research Setting

The setting of the research is the areas covered under study (Manheim, 2007, p. 29). As such, the research setting is the physical location of the study, which in this case is the place where the respondents are obtained. The interview study is conducted among police officers in the Abu Dhabi police station, in Abu Dhabi. This is one of the emirates in the UAE. As such the research is conducted in the UAE emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The Research Philosophy

A philosophy is the basis of the growth and nature of perceived information. According to Mcburney (2001), a philosophy is rooted in the guidelines and principles that outline the progression and direction of the topic in terms of activities taken, and techniques utilized. These views and guidelines are called paradigms. Intrinsically, this study uses realism philosophy of research. Walliman (2006) indicates that the realism philosophical ideas are founded on the impression and assumptions that actual structures occur independent of human-based perceptions, whereas data formation is socially based. Therefore, the realism philosophy avows that observable events are essential aspects of credible facts; nevertheless, the reality exists irrespective of observations as well as scientific facts (Manheim, 2007, p. 29). Therefore, the validity of the study is based on recognizing the fact whether verified or not. This philosophy is appropriate for this study since it seeks to understand the structure and functionality institutional practices in terms of the manner in which the use of CCTV affects police practices with respect to CCTV effectiveness in the reduction of crime and promotion of public safety, while placing under consideration the associated social, economic, and political constraints.

The Target Population and the Research Sample

This study targets the population of experienced policemen in field work. The population of interests constitutes of police officers in the Abu Dhabi police office. A simple random sampling technique is used to select a sample of 20 respondents from the police department. The applied selection method is effective in the elimination of bias. This small sample size is recommended because a qualitative design based on a small sample is sufficient to obtain conclusive and comprehensive data because respondents are given the freedom to express their opinion, attitudes, and beliefs regarding the subject matter (Saunders et al., 2003, p. 45). On the other hand, the use of a large sample size leads to the collection of large volumes of data that is subject to repetition and redundancy. Such data may cause confusion, errors, and reworks in the study leading to extensive wastage of time and resources (Aller & Stone, 1989, p. 142). The sample inclusion criterion is the possession of a minimum of five years in terms of experience in the active police service. On the other hand, the exclusion criteria are the job position of police officers as office-based officers who handle the paperwork, intelligence, and other office duties. As such, the sample constituted of police officers placed in the field-related duties.

Data Collection

The interview is used as a data collection instrument through the design of effective open and closed-ended questions that facilitate the provision of definite answers to the question as well as the provision of comments that allows respondents to provide their opinions, views and perception without any form of restriction. The primary data are gathered from responses to the interview question and recorded for study. However, the secondary data is obtained using the review of the literature, technique prior to the conduction of the interview study. This research provides data that explore the role of CCTV in police detection, research, and reduction of crime. In addition, it collects data that explores the options for expanding UAE operations centres to include private and public sector CCTV systems. Therefore, the collected data provide information that examines the manner in which expanded use of CCTV improves police detection, investigation, and reduction of crimes. This can be achieved through creating a system, which will access the CCTV from all Abu Dhabi hotels, Shopping Malls, Petrol Stations, Train Stations, and other public places. The data obtained from this CCTV surveillance are relayed into a privately operated Police Control Room, in addition to this, the system will be able to facilitate object recognition of specific targets and generate alarms for the Police.

Data Analysis

Saunders et al (2003) Indicates that data collected from qualitative design cannot be analysed using statistical methods of analysis. On the other hand, Manheim (2007) states that the most effective data analysis technique for a qualitative study is carried out in three phases, namely; reduction of data, the representation and display of data, and the drawing of valid conclusion. As such the analysis of the qualitative data collected from the interview study will be analysed through reduction of data, which entails the focusing and simplification of data in order to obtain brief, precise and useful information that addresses the research questions of the study directly. The display and presentation of data entail extensive use of descriptive statistics in terms of diagrammatic representation of data in a manner that makes it easier to understand and enables the researcher and user of the data to draw a conclusion in an easy and effective manner through facilitating the content and comparative analysis of data (Saunders et al., p. 48). The concluding stage entails aligning the data obtained from the study with the research aims and objective, hence it allows the researcher to draw valid conclusions that falls within the scope of the study and meets the study’s objectives.

Ethical Considerations of the Study

This study will be conducted through voluntary participation of respondents. As such, respondents’ participation will be based on the value of obtaining informed consent. Informed consent from the head of the department will be applied in the form of an email message that will require a letter of acceptance from the head of the police department. Consent from participants will be obtained from police officers in UAE who will be selected to participate in the sample. The application for informed consent from participants will be submitted in terms of posters pinned on police department notice boards. The request for consent will be written in Arabic and will explain the aim of the research, and the manner in which data and conclusion obtained from the research will be used. In addition, the participants will be notified that their participation is based on voluntary participation only. In addition, the sample will be debriefed on the poster at the time when the request for consent will be submitted through posters pinned on police department notice boards (Mcburney, 2001, p. 40).

Additionally, the research will be conducted in a manner that protect the integrity of the respondent as respondents will not be manipulated in any way to provide specific response, or provide information that affects their integrity and self-esteem. As a result, this study will not involve deception or covert tendencies. Therefore, all information will be based on the data collected and scientific evidence. In addition, the interview will be based on open-ended questions (Aller & Stone, 1989, p. 139).

This study upholds privacy of respondents. As such, respondents will be assigned numerical form of identification in order to protect their identity from the public in a manner that upholds confidentiality. The data are recorded in a manner that promotes anonymity of sample subjects. The participant information sheet that contains personal information about research respondents will be used to identify any form of relationship between results obtained based on gender and age. The participants will be identified using numbers and not their names.  In addition, this information will only be accessed by the researcher in order to facilitate the presentation, recording, and analysis of data.  After the data are collected in written form, it is fed into the computer within a day by the researcher himself and the hard copy is  locked up with a lock and key and destroyed immediately upon completion. The electronically stored data is saved under protected file that has a password that the researcher and other authorized personnel such as the supervisor alone have. In addition, the computer is protected using a password to eliminate access by unauthorized personel (Saunders et al., p. 45).



These results represent findings on all relevant factors of this research based on data from both secondary and primary sources. These findings are represented in a way that links the results and the interview question as well as meet the research objectives. As such, these results represent the respondents’ perceptions and opinion regarding the role of CCTV in police detection, research, prevention, and reduction of criminal activities in UAE, regardless of the fact that this study is conducted in Abu Dhabi. The analysis of the primary data is based on individual opinion due to the convenience element presented by the small sample size. As such, these findings present an effective way of drawing conclusive opinion regarding the role of CCTV in public safety and reduction of crime, as well as in exploring the options of expanding the police operations centre the access to CCTV systems in the private and public sector.

Impact of CCTV in the Reduction of Crime

Respondents demonstrated comprehensive knowledge regarding the impact of CCTV in crime reduction. As a result, all respondents indicated that CCTV reduces crime significantly by the use of the term ‘A lot.’ Therefore, 100% of the sample indicated that CCT was effective in the reduction of crime while giving such comments as it reduces crime as criminals are afraid of being exposed, hence, crime in CCTV installed areas are significantly reduced (respondent  10, 12, 7, 6, and 4).  In addition, other respondents indicated that CCTV reduces crime a lot because it provides sufficient evidence that facilitates the detection, investigation, and solving of criminal activities. Other respondents said that the installation of CCTV instils fears among criminals, due to high turnover of successful arrest and judgement that leads to punishment (respondent 1, 5, 6, 9, 10, and 17).

These results indicated that even though all respondents believed that CCTV reduced crime significantly, they held a different opinion regarding the manner in which it reduced crime. The comments obtained from respondents showed that most respondents believed the CCTV reduced crime because it instilled fear of being caught among criminals. In addition, approximately 35% of respondents stated that it discourages people from engaging in crime because it guarantees the presence sufficient witnesses and evidence of the crime.

Figure 1: Results on Respondent’ Opinions regarding the reason for CCTV Impact that leads to Crime Reduction

Effectiveness of CCTV in the Reduction of Crime

These results indicate that CCTV is an effective means of reducing crime. When asked whether CCTV reduces crime, 80% of respondents replied yes, while 20% replied no. However, the comments obtained from respondents indicated a variety of reasons for perceiving CCTV as an effective means of reducing crime. As such, 30% of respondents stated that CCTV reduces crime that relates to property theft and damages such as motor vehicle theft, and vandalism. On the other hand, 20% of respondents indicated that CCTV is effective in the reduction of crime against a person such as violence, sexual assault, and robbery with violence. In addition, 30% of respondents stated that CCTV is an effective means of reducing all forms of crimes, including unlawful use of motor vehicle, drug abuse, vagrancy, as well as trespassing and unlawful entry.

Figure 2: Results on the Effectiveness of CCTV in the Reduction of Crime


Therefore, the results show that 20% of respondents believe that the use of CCTV does not reduce crime, indicating that the use of CCTV in not effective in crime reduction. This group of respondents provided a variety of reasons to justify their opinion. These reasons were obtained in the form of comments that stated that; the use of CCTV does not have a significant impact in crime detection and investigation processes because it displaces criminal activities to other areas that have no CCTV cameras (respondent 20, 16, and 3). In addition, respondents stated that the use of CCTV has come in a technological advanced era, where criminals are equipped with the knowledge of manipulating its operations in a manner that it hinders police from getting any assistance from the surveillance, hence resulting in an insignificant impact in crime reduction (respondent 18, 7, and 11). These respondents stated that crimes that have a significant impact on citizens and the government at large are normally committed by experienced and expert criminals who have comprehensive knowledge regarding their crime scenes (respondent 15, and respondent 2). As such, CCTV is completely ineffective in the reduction of crimes that affect the society in a significant manner in terms of loss of property, abuse of persons, murder, and other forms of criminal offences that instils fear among residents.

CCTV Coverage and Invasion of Privacy

Respondents stated that CCTV has extremely limited coverage. This is based on the responses obtained indicating that CCTV does not cover most public and private sectors. In addition, respondents stated that most of the installed CCTV systems have minimal impact on the promotion of public safety because they are not connected to a significant security firm or perhaps the police operation centres in order to ensure that they are monitored. As such, all respondents indicated that CCTV coverage is low and ineffective in the significant reduction of crime in the UAE. Respondents stated that numerous private sector companies and public organizations have installed CCTV surveillance system in order to facilitate a crime-free environment. Nevertheless, these respondents insist that best results can only be realized if the recorded data are monitored and analysed by a competent security organization that will facilitate crime reduction and a state of public safety (respondent 1, 5, 6, 8, 11, 17, 18, 19, and respondent 20).

Additionally, all respondents stated that the use of CCTV is not an invasion of privacy. Respondents provided different explanations in order to justify an opinion. For instance, respondent 2, 8, 17, and 19, stated that CCTV is not an invasion of privacy as the system is not installed in public areas that violate the integrity of the public such as toilets, bathrooms, guesthouses, and other areas that require ultimate privacy. In addition, other respondents stated that Installation of CCTV in public and private sectors is not an invasion of privacy because protection against crime holds a greater weight than personal privacy matters (respondent 1, 3, 6, 18, and 20). Moreover, respondents stated that CCTV installation is always announced and the people are made aware of their existence (respondent 4, 5, 7, and 10).  These respondents believe that the public is warned, hence, resulting in a situation where the CCTV systems’ installed areas are not considered private. These findings show that the police officers believe that CCTV has limited coverage and that the installation of surveillance system does not cause invasion of privacy.

Crimes Solved by the use of CCTV

Respondents showed comprehensive understanding in terms of the forms of crimes that are reduced and solved using CCTV. As such, they identified a variety of crimes while each respondent identifying more than one form of crime that is solved using CCTV. In this case, 20% of respondents indicated that CCT is effective in solving assaults, while 25% of respondents indicated that CCTV is used to solve crimes that relate to robbery. Prostitution was named by 50% of the respondents when asked the forms of crimes that are solved using CCTV. Nonetheless, 65% of respondents indicated that CCTV is useful in solving sexual offences, while 90% of respondents stated that CCTV is effective in solving murder cases. Other related crimes included theft and unlawful entry, property damages and vandalism, unlawful use of vehicles, drugs and alcohol abuse, and trespassing.

Table 1: Results on forms of Crimes that are solved using CCTV

Type of Crime Percentage of Respondents who Identified the Crimes
Assault 20%
Robbery 25%
Sexual offences 65%
Homicide 90%
Theft 30%
Violence 40%
Unlawful entry 15%
Vandalism and property damage 10%
Unlawful use of  vehicles 30%
Drugs and alcohol 20%
Trespassing 15%
Weapons Act offences 10%
Prostitution 50%


These results show that CCTV is useful in solving all forms of crime. As such, respondents commented that the CCTV act as an information collection device that helps in capturing the time, the order of events, and identification of people that participated in crimes. Since the detection, prevention, and investigation of all crimes depend on time, order, participants, and nature of events, CCTV is useful in solving all forms of crimes.

Viewing Hours of CCTV Recordings

The answer to the question regarding the number of hours viewed by police officers and the number of officers available to monitor the recording had a definite form. As such, all respondents had zero hours of viewing CCTV recording because all respondents were field work officers. In addition, respondents stated that the CCTV surveillance was monitored by at least 16 police officers at a time. The systems are monitored at a 24 hour-basis per day, in which case, respondents take an eight-hour shift of monitoring the systems. However, 70% of the respondents did not know the number of police officers monitoring the CCTV surveillance recording at any given time. However, all respondents stated that the number of police on duty to monitor the surveillance recording is not sufficient to cover the monitoring of all CCTV systems in the private and public sectors. Therefore, all respondents indicated that the government should invest in employing more surveillance officer to monitor the CCTV systems connected in both public and private sectors to guarantee that the officer on duty is capable of working optimally without the feeling of overload. This will ensure accurate analysis of the provided data and the utilization of the collected information for crime detection, prevention, and investigation. Consequently, these findings show that the expansion of the police operation centre to access private and public sector security requires an increase in human resource in order to work day and night and ensure that the collected data is analysed accurately.

The Financial Impact of CCTV

These findings indicate that the use of CCTV leads to significant economic gains for the government and citizen. As such, 80% of respondents indicated that the use of CCTV saves money. However, these respondents provided different opinions regarding the means which the use of CCTV leads to these financial gains in terms of saving money, which would otherwise be used. As such, 35% of respondents         stated that CCTV leads to a reduction in security costs through saving time for both police and court procedures. This is based on the notion that the use of CCTV provides indubitable evidence that facilitates the police detection and investigation processes. In addition, the availability of evidence that cannot be gainsaid facilitates the court’s decision-making process leading to a quick and accurate verdict that makes room for other cases and investigation hence eliminating the waiting period for cases and accumulation of cases. On the other hand, 25% of the respondents stated that the use of CCTV leads to a reduction in the cost of employment as the number of patrol officers is significantly reduced as CCTV surveillance covers a larger area as compared to individual policemen on duty. Nonetheless, 20% of respondents stated that the use of CCTV saves money in terms of the reduction of crime and improvement of public safety. This is because the reduction of crime results in sustainable wealth and security among citizens that facilitates productivity that results in increased economic revenue in the society. In addition, reduction of crime, reduces time wasted on the investigation and trial of crimes, hence, translating to more hours for productive activities, as opposed to the redundancy that occurs in the event of criminal activities.

Nonetheless, 20% of the respondents stated that the use of CCTV does not save money. In addition, these respondents stated that the use of CCTV does not reduce police and court time. These respondents stated widespread use of CCTV system necessitates high installation and maintenance costs. In addition, it results in high costs of employing and training human resources in order to analyse data and utilize other information provided by the system. These respondents also stated that the use of CCTV does not save police and court time as it results in numerous arrest cases that demand extra court hours, and the use of significant police time in the monitoring of the system, analysis, and interpretation of data. In addition, 10% of these respondents stated that the use of CCTV does not save money as it does not lead to the reduction of crime, but it causes a displacement of crimes in areas that are not covered. As such, the lack of significant general impact translates to an insignificant difference in police and court time as both parties will be busy with the investigation, arrest and gathering of evidence that will result in legal justice.

Figure 3: Results on the economic impact of CCTV

The findings obtained from interviewing these respondents show that police officers believe that the use CCTV systems facilitate reduction and prevention of crime. These results show that police officers believe that the use of CCTV systems in both public and private sector is not an invasion of privacy. As such, the results suggest that police officers do not support the privacy and confidentiality provision of the international law that hinders police operation centres from accessing CCTV systems in the private and public sectors. Results showed that advertising of the presence of CCTV camera is a necessary protocol, such as a widespread publication of CCTV presence in areas under coverage should be upheld, hence the use of different forms of signs should be implemented. On the other hand, respondents do not believe that  the CCTV systems are underutilized because of lack of effectiveness in terms of the use of CCTV cameras in police deployment as well as the active monitoring of cameras. Nonetheless, respondents believe that CCTV systems facilitate the reduction, prevention, and detection of crime.

CCTV System Layout for Abu Dhabi

In a bid to enact a CCTV system that covers all sectors of the UAE, there are several aspects of system layout are taken into consideration in the development of a conceptual system layout. The conceptual system layout consist of six stages. The development of this layout is meant to have a police department in Abu Dhabi as the headquarter for connection and monitoring of all system in the country. Abu Dhabi police department is chosen since it serves as the headquarters of the UAE. The conceptual system layout is an Intergratede Video Face Recognition System for Abu Dhabi (IFRAD). The system is also geared towards performing object recognition of specific target areas and trigger alarms for the Police. The first process of the conceptual layout consists of stage one and stage two. This stage consists of a server system, which is connected on one side to the police headquarter and to other CCTV inputs distributed over the region. The server is either a Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN). In this stage, individual face recognition cameras are connected to the system at the police headquarters who monitor crime using this system. The LAN or WAN servers receive data from two different types of CCTV installations. One of these is divided into two inputs while the other has a capacity of sixteen receptions (View Appendix 2).

Stage three to six of the IFRAN involves the addition of capacity inputs to include  system that can accommodate more than 1000 CCTV inputs, which are channelled to the LAN and WAN connections that connect them to the police headquarters (View Appendix 3). The last stage of development of the IFRAD consists of the monitoring system, which is located at the police headquarters. This system channels all receptions from the LAN and WAN receivers to the monitoring system which will be divided into three stages of monitoring. The fist state consists of the live monitor, which monitors events as they progress. The second state of monitoring is the offline monitoring, which does not rely on live events, but review old content. The third state of monitoring is the supervisory monitoring, which consists of supervisors who monitor activities from both the live and offline monitors (View Appendix 4).


Findings and Discussion

This section of the research analyses findings and draws a conclusion based on results obtained from the literature and the results obtained from the interview study. These findings indicate that CCTV the extensive use of CCTV system promotes public safety in the UAE. In addition, these findings indicate that CCTV plays the role of data collection, evidence provision, and reminding the police of vital information that may have been overlooked during data analysis stage hence facilitating detection, prevention,  investigation, and reduction of crime. As a result, the findings in this research show that the police operations Centre must be supported by the government and citizens to expand  their access to public and private sectors’ CCTV systems in order to ensure the realization of sustainable public safety and long-term reduction of crime. In this case the two options under consideration consist of the allocation of sufficient funds to implement the change strategy through purchase of the necessary equipment and training as well as employment of skilled manpower to be surveillance officers (Ditton, 2000, p. 702).  Additionally, the other strategy entails the amendment of the local constitution in a manner that facilitates the access police access to CCTV systems in the private and public sector without necessarily violating the international law of confidentiality and respect to privacy (Armitage, 2002, p. 63).   The introduction of  the ‘unless clause,’ will lead to the realization of this result, for example, in line with the international law, the private and public sectors retain the right to deny access to their surveillance records, unless the request of access concerns matter of public and private security.

Results from the interview are consistent with findings obtained from Dziech and CzyżEwski (2013), which indicates that the effectiveness of CCTV system in police detection, prevention, investigation and reduction of crime depends on the quality of information received in terms of clarity of observed images, and the expertise of officers on duty to analyse the received data accurately. In addition, accurate interpretation of these data is equally important. Therefore, the results show that CCTV systems have been effective in crime reduction and promotion of public safety both in the UK and the UAE. However, these results are realized only in areas under coverage causing a displacement of the crime situation where the areas not covered by CCTV experience increased rates of crime. Such a situation is more detrimental than beneficial to the state owing to the fact that the government and the police in particular are interested in protecting all citizens. On the other hand, research conducted by Arnaout and Slavin (2013) indicate that the UK has successfully addressed this problem through extensive installation of CCTV systems in both public and private areas. However, the results obtained from the interview and the literature results show that the UAE lacks the financial capacity to expand the installation of CCTV systems and link the to the police operations Centre (Armitage, 2002, p. 56). Nonetheless, these results show that the CCTV systems in the UAE are effective in the improvement of public safety, such as streets, car parks, and bus stations.

According to Yin (2011) CCTV is an essential aspect of police work. These findings are consisted with the findings obtained in this study that indicate that CCTV footage is used as a forensic tool that is essential in providing evidence relating to a crime under investigation. However, results from the literature and the interview show that the expansion of the police operation centre access to CCTV systems in private and public sector comes with a heavy financial burden. Nonetheless, research conducted by Ibrahim (2012) states that the security benefits accompanying the use of CCTV outweigh the financial burden. Nevertheless, the findings show that, despite the lack of formal statistical evidence, the effectiveness of CCTV in the reduction of crime and promotion of public safety cannot be gainsaid. White (2007) states that CCTV enables the police to obtain significant evidence in the investigation processes that lead to efficient court proceedings. In addition, Verga (2011) states that the use of CCTV is a fundamental aspect of public safety strategy in the modern society that faces high rates of different forms of crime, as such, the operators, the general public, and police officers in the field should work together in order to increase the effectiveness of the CCTV systems in terms of the extent in which these cameras are used under crime detection, prevention, investigation and reduction. As such, findings from this research indicate that collaborative effort and teamwork trained operators and the officers with comprehensive geographical knowledge of the neighbourhood facilitate the impact of CCTV in the detection, prevention, investigation and reduction of crimes in the case where both parties engage in interactive and collaborative efforts in solving crimes.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Findings obtained from this study show that CCTV is an effective means of identification and tracking of suspects. This is based on the availability of clear and precise recording that provide information concerning the identity and whereabouts of the suspects at a specific time. Therefore, CCTV systems provide powerful evidence during court trials that lead to the provision of quick and precise judgement regarding crimes committed in the areas under CCTV coverage. These findings also show that the connection of CCTV systems to competent security firms or perhaps the police operations centre results in the reduction of crime through the implementation of on-time crime prevention strategies to potential crime areas under surveillance. As such, the use of CCTV has successfully led to the promotion of public safety, thereby, reducing the fear of crime among residents, hence boosting public safety.

The conclusions drawn from this research how that the amendment of the privacy policies and a review of government spending in terms of funds disbursement are the two main options that the UAE police operations centres have to expand their operations in a manner that gain access to private and public sectors’ CCTV systems. As such, the implementation of these two options would facilitate an increase in allocation of funds for aggregate CCTV monitoring systems, and provides a legal mandate for the police operations centres to expand their operations to gain access to private and public sector CCTV systems. Besides, these results indicate that the extensive use of CCTV systems leads to a reduction in crimes and the promotion of public safety, which results in high economic benefits for the government. As a result, the option of extending UAE police department access to the public and private sectors’ CCTV systems is advantageous to both the public and private sectors, irrespective of the controversial opinions based on the rights to privacy and confidentiality debates (Ditton, 2000, p. 698).

These findings indicate that the police department should focus on assigning skilled personnel in the analysis and interpretation of CCTV data. This is because the misinterpretation of data and inability to accurately analyse CCTV data result in wastage of expensive resources. In addition, the underutilization of CCTV data overlooks the significance of public safety as it does not result in crime reduction. As such, the availability sufficient number of skilled manpower, and the expansion of police operation centre to access data in the private and public sector results in public safety and reduction of crime (Armitage, 2002, p. 56).




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