police CCTV training

Managing CCTV investigations: Mick Neville on Tavcom Training’s new course

Adam Bannister

Editor, IFSEC Global

Author Bio ▼

Adam Bannister is editor of IFSEC Global. A former managing editor at Dynamis Online Media Group, he has been at the helm of the UK's leading fire and security publication since 2014.
November 19, 2018

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Tavcom Training recently introduced a new course for senior investigating officers who oversee the retrieval and analysis of CCTV footage during criminal investigations.

The three-day course, which costs £795 plus VAT, runs in April, June, October and January. A Tavcom level 3 certificate is awarded on completion.

Mick Neville, former head of the central forensic image team at New Scotland Yard, designed and delivered the course with Tavcom.

Neville, now CEO of Super Recognisers International, spoke to IFSEC Global about what the course involves and how it can help senior officers run investigations more effectively and efficiently.

David Gill, managing director of Linx International, Tavcom’s parent company, also contributes to the discussion.

IFSEC Global: Hi, Mick. What prompted you and Tavcom to develop this course?

Mick Neville: Managing CCTV investigation is as critical as getting the CCTV [in the first place].

With a major investigation, be it murder with one or two suspects or riots with multiple suspects, even something as dreadful as the Hillsborough enquiry, you have lots and lots of video [to trawl through].

There’s a real place for a course that helps senior officers manage that product so you can get the best out of it.

In the police there’s lots of talk about forensics, DNA, fingerprints… People didn’t need to know about [those subjects] because experts dealt with them.

But with CCTV we were just left to make up policy – so our work came out of that.

So it’s about spreading the expertise.

IG: What precisely does the course cover?

MN: The course is about how to manage all the elements of images, whether from CCTV, body worn camera, drone, whatever else, utilising Tavcom’s expertise.

With CCTV it’s the parameters you set, the tactics you use to identify [suspects], how you utilise the media and criminal informants.

Then you have the super recognisers: how can a police force, at home or abroad, use super recognisers who already exist in the force?

When a senior officer gets those identifications, how do you turn that into a suspect and a conviction?

“You’ve got 10,000 hours of CCTV – what do you view first or last? When you’ve viewed it, what do you do?”

They have to decide what images to get, how to get them, how to task them out. And then how it’s going to be viewed. You’ve got 10,000 hours of CCTV – what do you view first or last? When you’ve viewed it, what do you do?

It’s also helps senior officers understand data protection, privacy – all those ethical considerations.

IG: Is there a likely appeal for overseas police forces too?

MN: In most police forces there is no procedure around CCTV.

I was sent out to help the German police when the sex attacks happened in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. They said: “Tell us what to do – we don’t know.”

A lot of countries, for all sorts of historical reasons, haven’t had [much] video surveillance.

Suddenly the world has changed and stopped worrying about 75 years ago; they’ve started worrying about right now. There’s terrorism, problems with mass immigration and crime.

How do you get them to understand how to turn those pictures into something convictable?

IG: So countries elsewhere in Europe are now more convinced of the usefulness of video surveillance?

MN: Countries like Germany and [those in] Scandinavia, were more against CCTV [than the UK], but because of the current threat they’re now more likely to have it.

When I used to show people in Europe, they were appalled. Now they’ve accepted they’ve got to change.

So there’s a big market in mainland Europe. And America – but mainland Europe is virgin territory because they simply don’t have the experience.

What level of police officers would this course benefit?

MN: The course is aimed at senior police officers. When I say senior: Detective Inspector, Detective Chief Inspector, Detective Super Intendent… Either supervising officers doing lower level enquiries or who are in charge of a major enquiry, whether over a football riot, murder, public disorder, whatever.

Then they need an overarching view of how their officers deal with CCTV, bodycams, drone footage…

David Gill: It’s fair to say you could encompass all law enforcement – so also immigration, customs and excise, senior policymakers, managers, investigators… CCTV is such a valuable tool.

We’ve already had very strong interest from Dubai in the UAE. Their technology often leaves us behind…

Dubai tends to have more advanced surveillance technology?

DG: Yes – they want the very best. Their regulation regime is tougher than ours.

We, as the group encompassing Tavcom, deliver strategic training for SIRA, the security industry regulatory authority in Dubai.

Presumably a big part of conducting investigations is knowing who should have access to CCTV and when, plus how you deliver it to  each stakeholder?

MN: Senior officers have teams of technicians who obtain the CCTV or drone footage. Then they must decide which officers should view it.

Once you’ve produced the footage, how do you get it identified? There’s an external and internal issue. What’s the policy and plan?

They must account for telling a court, commissioner or chief officer what tactics were used to identify.

Then how are the detectives going to use it in the interview room to get the person to confess or come up with an account?

Then they have to brief the prosecution service. They have to translate it into court so the jury can [understand]?

It’s an end to end process.

Does it matter how advanced your CCTV systems are?

MN: In some countries this technology is better than in Britain, but it’s about getting the best out of what you’ve got, getting the best out of the officers you deploy.

Find out more about the managing CCTV investigations course from Tavcom Training.

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