Text the CCTV camera?

City councils are developing ways for the public to text CCTV if they witness suspicious activity.

Whatever you think about CCTV cameras, they are a friend to the vulnerable when no one else is around, especially in these days when city centres seem overtaken, post 6pm, by drinkers. With 999 services either overwhelmed or simply off the hook- usually the media can't decide which - what do you do? Cambridge City Council, which is nominated for an NMA award, decided they had the answer: get people to text message those in the CCTV control room.

In a 21st century version of checking where the police box is (for those who have know idea what I am talking about, think Tardis), the council allows people to contact the CCTV control room directly if they see something going on. As the entry says, "Giving out our telephone number was not operationally practical. But with the proliferation of mobile telephones the solution was to set up a direct texting service."

Tellingly, the service was suggested by the public. One can guess why. The area in question includes Soham where two girls where abducted and murdered.

Apparently, it's proving popular with the public, media and our other partners. Now the council is considering rolling out texting services to its other departments.

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SRSLY #45: Love, Nina, Internet Histories Week, The Secret in Their Eyes

This week on the pop culture podcast, we chat Nick Hornby’s adaptation of Nina Stibbe’s literary memoir, our histories on the internet, and an Oscar-winning 2009 Argentinian thriller.

This is SRSLY, the pop culture podcast from the New Statesman. Here, you can find links to all the things we talk about in the show as well as a bit more detail about who we are and where else you can find us online.

...or subscribe in iTunes. We’re also on StitcherRSS and SoundCloud – but if you use a podcast app that we’re not appearing in, let us know.

SRSLY is hosted by Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz, the NS’s web editor and editorial assistant. We’re on Twitter as @c_crampton and @annaleszkie, where between us we post a heady mixture of Serious Journalism, excellent gifs and regularly ask questions J K Rowling needs to answer.

The Links

Love, Nina

The first episode on iPlayer.

An interview with Nina Stibbe about the book.

Internet Histories Week

The index of all the posts in the series.

Our conversation about MSN Messenger.

The Secret in Their Eyes

The trailer.

For next week

Anna is watching 30 Rock.

If you’d like to talk to us about the podcast or make a suggestion for something we should read or cover, you can email srslypod[at]gmail.com.

You can also find us on Twitter @srslypod, or send us your thoughts on tumblr here. If you like the podcast, we’d love you to leave a review on iTunes - this helps other people come across it.

We love reading out your emails. If you have thoughts you want to share on anything we’ve discussed, or questions you want to ask us, please email us on srslypod[at]gmail.com, or @ us on Twitter @srslypod, or get in touch via tumblr here. We also have Facebook now.

Our theme music is “Guatemala - Panama March” (by Heftone Banjo Orchestra), licensed under Creative Commons. 

See you next week!

PS If you missed #44, check it out here.