LONDON (AFP) — CCTV cameras have failed to bring about a reduction in crime despite billions of pounds being spent on the network, a senior police officer said Tuesday.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Neville -- who leads Scotland Yard's Visual Images, Identifications and Detections Office (Viido) -- said the system was an "utter fiasco" as it only helped solve three percent of crimes and failed to deter criminals.

He also urged that officers be properly trained in the new technology as some avoid looking through CCTV images "because it's hard work".

"CCTV was originally seen as a preventative measure," he told the Guardian while attending the Security Document World Conference in London.

"Billions of pounds has been spent on kit, but no thought has gone into how the police are going to use the images and how they will be used in court. It's been an utter fiasco: only three percent of crimes were solved by CCTV.

"There's no fear of CCTV. Why don't people fear it? [They think] the cameras are not working," he added.

Neville's unit is in control of a new database of CCTV images which will be used to identify offenders and track them down.

The unit is also mulling whether it can use software to follow distinctive brand logos on the clothing of unidentified suspects.

The team in addition to this will be putting images of suspects on the internet.

There are more than 4.2 million cameras installed across Britain and Viido -- which was established in September 2006 -- has been tasked with creating the database of CCTV evidence.

The success of this scheme could lead to the formation of more such specialist CCTV units in the country.

(with wire reports)

This video is from ITN, broadcast May 6, 2008.

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