A Forgotten Liverpool First - CCTV!
Whilst compiling my Music/History Blog Beneath The Beat I came across the 1965 BBC Documentary 'The Singing City'.
Part of the documentary was an interview with Acting Chief Constable Herbert Balmer who spoke about his implementation of CCTV linked to a central control room who was in contact with the squad cars of his 'Commandos'.
One CCTV camera was on top of Lewis's department store but I don't know the location of the others.
I believe this is the first record of CCTV being used in the UK - possibly the world.
1967 Photoscan a commercial CCTV company launches in retail shops.
1975 is given as first time permanent and systematic use of CCTV was used outside the private sector by London Underground.
1985 is when Bornemouth is credited as having the first permanently monitored public space in Britain.
Why then has Liverpool been forgotten in this story?
The documentary can be found in the link on my blog here.
I watched this a couple of years ago and found Balmers piece very funny when he was decribing trying to clear the opium traders out. You couldn't make it up. Brilliant. such a good documentary too lots of detail and listen to the accents of the ordinary people talking none of that hard gutteral stuff we hear now. scouse yes but a much gentler scouse.
I didn't know that Balmer reached that lofty rank.
For someone so corrupt too...
I agree Doris, it made me smile too.
Originally Posted by Doris Mousdale
I had not forgotten that CCTV was pioneered in Liverpool. I do recall at the time that there were some concerns about privacy and "Big Brother."
Originally Posted by fortinian
There wern't any other locations for CCTV cameras just the one on Lewis's. However, Herbert Balmer was a great handler of the press (and a member of the Liverpool Press club) and referred to "cameras around the city". It worked beautifully and crime fell rapidly. I cannot attest to the Cameras being the first in the country but the percieved use of a CCTV system certainly had the desired effect. Also, the Commandos were the forerunners of the Task Force, Tactical Aid Groups, Operational Support Division or whatever else such Police departments are called today. See my article about him. Whatever you may think of Balmer, he was nobodys fool and not the Acting Chief Constable of Liverpool for nothing.
Originally Posted by fortinian
That's a great website Underworld, thank you.
ChrisGeorge, you may have not forgotten but it seems the world at large has.
Here http://www.urbaneye.net/results/ue_wp3.pdf an EU Commissioned report fails to mention Liverpool and Balmer at all.
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