Op Castle: New CCTV submission portal is helping catch burglars
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It has only been one week since Merseyside Police launched its new “Public CCTV Submission Portal” and 40 video clips have been received, with some leading to strong lines of enquiry and the identification of a convicted burglar in a previously unreported break-in.
The new website link was announced on Tuesday, 12 July and it allows the public to upload video footage from their home security cameras or smart doorbells that shows suspicious activity. As these video surveillance devices grow in popularity, some homeowners are discovering they have video footage of suspicious characters walking through their garden, down the driveway or up to their doorstep.
Detective Inspector Tony O’Brien of Merseyside Police’s burglary team, known as Operation Castle, said: “During the last four years, since Operation Castle was established, the team has already been successful in reducing burglary by 59%, with burglary offenders serving sentences totalling more than 600 years. The new submission portal for video footage is another tool that our detectives can use to help put more burglars behind bars.
“Sometimes homeowners discover they have video footage of someone that they assume is just a trespasser, snooping around the outside of the property. Often, they do not realise its potential evidential value, but this sort of footage can help us build a case.
“We are very pleased with the positive response from the public to our appeal of not publishing video footage like this on social media and instead, sending it to us so we can assess its evidential value. The Operation Castle team is already following some interesting lines of enquiry and detectives will be interviewing a convicted burglar about further offences revealed in a video clip submitted via the new portal.
“The new portal link is aimed at circumstances where there has been no crime reported, but the suspicious behaviour could potentially be related to a burglary. The value of this type of evidence is highlighted in a recent case that featured evidence gathered from various sources of CCTV. In this case, Carl Michael Parkinson, aged 38 years of no fixed abode, was convicted on 7 July 2022 at Liverpool Crown Court for attempted burglary at three addresses in Crosby. He received three sentences of four months each, which he will serve consecutively.
“Modern video surveillance cameras, including smart doorbells can be very useful, particularly those with cloud-based apps, but remember, you should check the guidance on the Information Commissioner’s Office website when installing CCTV at home.”
How to share your video footage with Op Castle detectives