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Technology, context, users: a conceptual model of CCTV

Menichelli, Francesca (2014) Technology, context, users: a conceptual model of CCTV Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 37 (2). pp. 389-403.

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The purpose of this paper is to challenge the traditional placement of CCTV within the realm of crime prevention technologies and to propose a conceptualisation of surveillance cameras that takes into account how different elements interact to shape how these are understood, defined and used in the day-to-day practices of the police.


Methodologically, the research draws on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in two medium-sized Italian cities where open-street CCTV systems have been recently implemented and is based on a combination of non-participant observations and interviews with police officers in both forces.


Overall, two main findings emerge from the fieldwork. First, cameras are rarely used and not for reasons pertaining to crime control; rather, they have become a tool for the efficient management of scarce policing resources, with particular emphasis on the co-ordination and real-time tracking of patrolling personnel. Second, this shift is understood in radically different ways by officers in the two cities, so that what is experienced as a benign form of peer-to-peer co-ordination in Central City becomes a form of undue surveillance on the part of higher ranks in Northern City.


The value of the present work is twofold. On one hand, it provides relevant information to police practitioners on how organisational and structural factors impact on the use of surveillance cameras in policing. On the other, embracing the idea that CCTV is constructed through the interaction of several distinct, yet related, processes can explain why the same technology is implemented, defined and used in different ways in comparable organisations.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Date : 2014
DOI : 10.1108/PIJPSM-06-2013-0055
Copyright Disclaimer : © Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2014
Uncontrolled Keywords : Implementation; Conceptual model; CCTV; Peer-to-peer co-ordination; Surveillance of workforce; Technologisation of policing
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 17 Apr 2018 08:46
Last Modified : 20 Jun 2018 08:03

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