Surveillance or judicial murder?
Under much public attention with shouts of “Big Brother is watching you” and allegations of new police methods, a new surveillance system in Liverpool was switched on last week. 20 Cameras mounted in the city core are to reveal the inhabitants doings, and potential criminal activities. There already is located cameras in plenty of shops, banks and public buildings overall in the UK, but it is expected that lots of cities will follow the example of Liverpool. One might think that the tapes would be valuable as evidence: with luck in several cases from the counsel, for the prosecution point of view, the tapes have been used against the accused, for example like the James Bulger case from Liverpool. Still, it is not known that these cameras hardly can be used in cases of identifying criminals. A superior police officer, lately stated that out of 800 tapes of robberies, only a half of dozen could actually be used to convict the criminals. How can that be? One would think, if you have a picture of a robber that is about to commit a crime, it is enough evidence to catch him even if the picture is a bit blurry. But it is not that easy: even if the police claim that they know the person on the tape, suspicion will rise against that the suspect really is the person or not. “With fingerprints or DNA samples you can be positive, but with pictures there is greater uncertainty,” says Dr. Barry Irving from Scotland Yard. Still, this year there will be a greater possibility to involve videotapes in cases against robbers with good results for conviction. This is a result of collaboration between University College Hospital in London and the military research department. Instead of discussing whether it is the same nose or the same hairline, it is now possible for the police to develop photography from the crime scene and the suspect, to compare them with care and indicate the static probability for a coincidence. Dr. Alfred...
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