London riots: Redbridge police working through hundreds of hours of CCTV
“It’s an immense” task says Det Con Colin Rumsam as he gives his “square” eyes a rest after watching hours of CCTV footage.
To his right are dozens of envelopes each filled with evidence of individual crimes which flared up across Redbridge following the riots in Tottenham last month.
“You’re viewing footage in the town centre and down alleyways trying to find a good facial image of people,” says Mr Rumsam.
“Some times you have to go back in the day to find a good image.”
The officer is working out of a specially set-up room within the grounds of Redbridge Council’s Ley Street depot, Ilford.
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On August 9, just hours after the trouble had terrorised parts of the borough, bosses at the council’s CCTV control room were equipping a nearby office with 10 computer screens that would enable officers to view footage from all of the 250 borough cameras.
The nerve centre has played a crucial room as a dedicated team of about five officers, led by a sergeant, pour over hundreds of hours of CCTV footage.
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Moments including the looting of mobile phone shops in Ilford Town Centre and disorder in Ilford Lane have all been captured by high-quality cameras.
Dozens of images of people police want to speak to in connection with the disorder have already been circulated, but the job is not close to being over.
Mr Rumsam expects officers to spend another two months capturing the faces of suspected criminals caught not only on borough CCTV cameras, but on more than 1,000 hours of private camera footage which, with one or two exceptions, has yet to be viewed.
Explaining the process of documenting each individual suspected criminal, Mr Rumsam said: “We follow a person through and take snippets where they’re seen committing a crime.
“We burn off a CD, get a photo still for ID and create a log on what that person is doing step by step. The log is given to the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service].”
He added: “It’s very advanced. Our detective chief inspector hit the ground running and got this all set up.”
CCTV manager for Redbridge Robert James said: “We got the room set up really quickly. It’s something we haven’t done before and I’m very pleased about it.”