U.K. courts short on DVD equipment

Published 21 February 2006

Here is a business opportunity: Providing U.K. courts with equipment to allow them to view DVDs. The reason: Installing CCTV in public places may be popular, especially in the United Kingdom, but Her Majesty’s Court Service is failing to show all the CCTV evidence presented as some courts lack the technology to play footage, a report has revealed. Six out of 167 unsuccessful cases were dropped or dismissed in the United Kingdom because courts, Crown Prosecution Service offices, and defense solicitors use only VHS video equipment. Most CCTV footage, however, is now on DVD, research from the National Audit Office said.

The report said: “In order for a case to progress the police have to obtain the evidence, arrange for it to be reformatted and provide copies for the Crown Prosecution Service and the defense. This evidence needs to be available with the full file as it is often conclusive, leading either to early guilty pleas or to early dismissals, thus avoiding the additional costs of a trial.”

A spokesman for HM Court Service said, however, that organizations give CCTV footage to police in a range of formats. He said: “CCTV footage doesn’t just come as DVD — it can be multiplex. We’re working closely with others to ensure we can show CCTV in court. It’s not quite as simple as playing it on a DVD or a VCR.”

-read more in this silicon.com report