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Moscow cops watch pre-recorded video footage

January 13, 2010

The police in the Russian capital have admitted that their police officers in several districts were watching pre-recorded video footage in place of live streaming surveillance pictures for an undetermined proportion of the five months from May to September last year, according to RT. It seems that the private company subcontracted to maintain the system, StroyMontageService, was defrauding the police of the equivalent of over a million dollars by recycling footage and not actually servicing the city’s video surveillance system.

Several questions are raised immediately here. Firstly, how closely were police actually watching if they didn’t even notice that they were watching recorded footage (surely the time-codes would have been wrong?); secondly, if the codes had been changed, how would there have been any way of them knowing, unless and until a major live situation was quite clearly not visible? Thirdly, how frequent is this kind of either deliberate fraud by subcontractor elsewhere, and indeed how common are simple errors that might lead to the same outcome? And finally, did this lack of live video feed make any difference to Moscow’s crime rate or clear-up rate. If they took five months to notice, it does rather suggest that video surveillance plays little role in either…

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