When it comes to remotely monitored CCTV, fact can often be stranger than fiction as the operators at one hardworking RVRC (Remote Video Response Centre) I talked to in the North of England can testify.
One of the most blatant examples, captured by their cameras, concerns a mother and daughter who decided to stage a forecourt ‘incident' at a motor dealership. While waiting for the daughter's car to be fixed an apparently dishevelled mother told garage staff that she had slipped on some oil and was threatening to sue. Upon review of the CCTV images it became apparent that the truth was very different! In reality it had all been pre-planned with the mother coolly handing her bag to her daughter before proceeding to lie down in the oil. Needless to say the con artists did not have much success with a claim for damages.
In another case, according to the RVRC operators, playing a game of ‘hide and seek' with the police was not the smartest step for an intruder to take at a Birmingham builders' merchants after he climbed into their yard one Sunday afternoon. His unwelcome appearance at the merchants was picked up immediately at RVRC where he was seen by operators talking on his mobile phone ‘stealing to order'. When the local police arrived he was in what he thought was a perfect hiding place behind a digger. Sadly for him he had failed to reckon with the fact that his every move was being followed on camera. It was therefore a simple matter for an operator to direct the police straight to the bewildered criminal's hideaway for a timely arrest.
The RVRC operators also reported an incident where cameras placed around a motor dealership proved to be unsettling for a less than salubrious neighbour. After a camera failed images were naturally reviewed pre-fail to identify the cause. To everyone's surprise it was discovered that a man had actually walked across the road, from the house opposite, up to the camera and attempted to physically remove it from its mounting. When the police were shown the images they advised the RVRC that this individual was actually a local drugs dealer, who, being paranoid about the potential for the camera to pick up his illegal activities had decided to put it out of action!
One of the most common excuses offered by intruders when challenged is that they are ‘only walking the dog', something which always has to be taken with a pinch of salt. This certainly failed to be a convincing alibi for one criminal at a freight depot when the police, who had been alerted by the RVRC, could find no evidence of the actual dog and the individual could not even remember the name of his faithful companion!
The case was sealed when the only thing the police search revealed was a cache of stolen goods secretly stashed away nearby.
For RVRC operators protecting premises against the threat of attack is an extremely serious business, however on occasion, as the above incidents demonstrate, they find themselves presented with such outlandish or incredibly stupid behaviour that they end up shaking their heads in disbelief.