A Brief History of CCTV

30/10/2018 in Security

CCTV is something that we don’t often give a second thought to anymore and many of us may well take it for granted. Many streets, alleyways, homes, offices and construction sites are fitted with this technology and it is now becoming something that we accept and expect in modern society, with London having 500,000 CCTV cameras and the total number of cameras in the UK to be around 4,200,00. This means that there is one camera for every 14 people.

Of course, the CCTV systems available today are very different from earlier versions. If you have ever wondered where CCTV started and how it came to be as important as it is today, read on.


Siemens AG installed the first CCTV system in Peenemunde, Germany in 1942. At that time, they were used to observe the launch of V2 rockets, which is primarily a military activity. By 1949, CCTV cameras were already being sold commercially in the US. Monitoring devices are still widely used for scientific purposes, in particular, on rocket and spaceship launch sites. This is because engineers and scientists cannot get too close to launching sites, as it could affect their health.

1950s and 1960s

The United Kingdom got involved with CCTV four years later, in 1953, during the coronation of the Queen. In the 1960s, CCTV got used for the first time by Metropolitan Police to monitor events or rallies that any member of the Royal Family or the Prime Minister was attending.

It was around this time when CCTV cameras were installed permanently on various streets in London and numerous other counties in England started experimenting with the installation of surveillance devices at city centres. Even the British Railways appreciated the benefits of putting cameras after a part of the tracks were vandalised.

1970s and 1980s

Security cameras considerably increased in popularity throughout the 1970s and 80s. Many busy roads and train stations started monitoring areas in and around them in order to prevent crime and keep the public safe. In 1987, after many unsuccessful trials in the 1970’s, the UK took a leap of faith and installed the first outdoor CCTV system in the beautiful seaside town of Bournemouth. Then, towards the end of the 80s, local authorities, council estates and even at petrol stations started installing CCTV systems. Even construction CCTV started being used to prevent theft on construction sites.

1990s to today

CCTV cameras were so advanced by the 1990s that they were able to examine speeding drivers on motorways and roads and even work out drivers who ignored traffic signs. All drivers who disobeyed driving rules were monitored by high-speed cameras deliberately located at various places down the motorway. It was a major feat to be able to enforce traffic laws by using CCTV systems. The technology helped a lot when it came to finding traffic offenders.

It was at this point that different governments around the world started to realise the importance of these devices and assigned budget in order to build and maintain their own systems, which have become an important part of their crime prevention efforts. Crime prevention technologies are forever evolving and there are now wireless CCTV cameras an all sorts of other technologies that help minimise crime.

Send Us a Message

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.