Portsmouth To Trial Crime-Predicting CCTV Cameras

The city of Portsmouth will become the first in UK to get a taste of a new generation of smart CCTV cameras which can alert authorities if they detect any suspicious behaviour, prompting some to label them as "Minority Report" cameras in reference to the 2002 Sci-Fi movie featuring Tom Cruise.

The security system is already in use in New York and other cities across the Atlantic and works by analysing how vehicles and people behave using a number of variables like speed. But the human operators still has the last word as whether to inform the authorities or not.

The system is said to allow the human operators to concentrate on the "most interesting" information as the software filters out "all the boring ones", which in effect means that operators could be given the task to monitor even more CCTVs.

And Portsmouth's Council Tax payers will not pay a single penny for it after Smart CCTV, the company behind the product, gave it free to the city in a bid to raise its profile. 4.2 million cameras currently in use in the country and Portsmouth plans to equip up to 600 existing CCTV cameras with the new technology after the initial trial was a success.

In a near future, human controllers might even be removed from the equation if the service is crowdsourced (piggy-backing on neighbourhood watch schemes) or if advanced artificial intelligence is used together with face recognition systems.

"Although we are a long way off Minority Report, it is a step closer, It is able to alert the operator to something that might be interesting such as a guy hanging around or somebody running." said Nick Hewitson, MD of Smart CCTV... Minority report is much closer, indeed.

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