Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

CCTV is one of the most valuable tools we have to make Southwark safer. It's most effective when used as part of a coordinated approach to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.

CCTV is a key service for partner agencies such as the police, Southwark's anti-social behaviour unit, trading standards and environmental enforcement in the detection of crime. Partners use CCTV evidence to identify and prosecute offenders.

They also use the CCTV facilities as part of planned operations and in response to real time incidents.  

Not all of the CCTV cameras you may see around the borough are owned or operated by us. A number of private businesses, members of the public, the police or other investigatory agencies may have their own cameras which are not connected to the council. There are a number of Red Route CCTV cameras owned and operated by Transport for London across the borough.

When a camera is owned by us, it will have clearly marked signs. The telephone number on the sign is the direct telephone number of the control room. All members of the public are encouraged to call if they wish to alert our CCTV operators to any suspicious activity.  

CCTV activities

Our CCTV control room gathers around two thousand pieces of evidential material every month. Not all the information gathered by our operators relates to crime and anti-social behaviour.

The CCTV unit in Southwark carries out a range of activities, including:

  • public space monitoring
  • detecting crime/asb
  • locating missing persons
  • directing police, fire brigade and ambulance services to incidents
  • reporting environmental issues such as unsafe structures, damaged bus shelters and broken pavements
  • environmental enforcement activities such as catching fly tipping and graffiti
  • traffic collisions and enforcement activities

The enforcement of traffic and parking regulations utilising CCTV and mobile CCTV is managed separately from the Central Monitoring Suite. If you'd like to know more about Traffic Management CCTV, visit our parking section. 

How CCTV cameras are monitored

Images from the cameras are continuously monitored at our Central Monitoring Suite, which is in operation 24 hours each day, 7 days a week. We have direct video and radio communications with the police. The Metropolitan Police Despatch Centre can be informed of suspicious activity, antisocial behaviour and all criminal incidents as they arise. This enables police officers to be directed to the exact location of an incident by our licensed CCTV operators.

CCTV operators receive regular briefing on types of crime that occur in the borough and their locations. This enables operators to conduct regular patrols throughout the day in key areas. Operators can also be given specific tasks from Community Safety partners to support operations, gather evidence and assist local businesses and members of the public.

Where do we install CCTV

We have CCTV cameras in:

  • town centres
  • high streets
  • car parks
  • council owned buildings and housing estates

We also have a number of re-deployable CCTV cameras that can be moved to different locations as and when required.

Installing and decommissioning CCTV

All community safety CCTV in Southwark has two basic functions:

  1. To support safety in the community
  2. To prevent and detect crime and anti-social behaviour

CCTV on housing estates

We've recently completed a programme of repairs to existing CCTV on housing estates. We've also utilised a number of re-deployable CCTV cameras in areas which had no CCTV but were experiencing levels of anti-social behaviour. All estate CCTV systems are now recorded and monitored from the Central CCTV monitoring suite.

CCTV camera locations

If you wish to see where our CCTV cameras are located visit the map page.

Accessing CCTV footage

Within the law, there are a number of provisions allowing people to access any information that government authorities hold about them. CCTV is no exception.

Whilst the data protection act gives individuals the right to access information about themselves, there are times when access to CCTV images can still be denied.

If you wish to see the criteria for access to CCTV images, visit the crime prevention advice page.

If you wish to request any CCTV footage, apply for a Freedom of information.

Page last updated: 27 March 2023


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