New software gives instant access to CCTV

In conjunction with the Home Office and police, a universal digital CCTV player has been developed that significantly reduces investigation times.

May 21, 2008
By Paul Jacques
Haroon Iqbal

In conjunction with the Home Office and police, a universal digital CCTV player has been developed that significantly reduces investigation times.

Without the need for additional hardware, it allows officers who may not be video or computer experts to quickly and easily look at CCTV video footage.

Dr John Gilby of Sira Defence and Security, which developed the software, explained: “If they [officers] can access video on YouTube then they have the skills to use SiraView. It has to be rigorous in its handling of video evidence, but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated.”

The use of CCTV evidence has always been very successful, both in terms of volume crime and the more serious cases which tend to catch the attention of the public. However, the proliferation of digital CCTV with its numerous proprietary formats has made it more difficult for the investigator to view material.

Sira believes that giving all officers the opportunity to view CCTV images using ‘SiraView’ will allow more rapid and straightforward access to CCTV evidence. This will make police use of CCTV evidence more common, more effective, and reduce delays in both investigating and solving crimes. Ultimately, Sira believes this will enable better use of police resources and reduce the number of unsolved crimes whilst releasing police video specialists to concentrate on more technically challenging work.

The Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) has just commenced a nationwide trial of SiraView with UK forces. The purpose of the trial is primarily to establish the most common digital formats seen by each police force, as this varies across the country. Although SiraView, which is already used by seven UK forces, covers the most common CCTV formats, more are being added all the time.

The results of the trial are expected next month.

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