CCTV STARS: Seven examples of how CCTV video footage can be re-purposed for comms

There is a camera for every 14 people in the UK and comms teams are slowly waking up with the idea of re-purposing CCTV and body-worn footage into comms.

What does the footage show? Work at the sharp end, fundamentally. It can show what teams are up against.

Beyond that, it shows how the organisation responds and some positive results.

Issues to be aware of

Much as though Facebook Live streams of police chases would go down a bomb, there’s a range of issues to be aware of. If a crime is being committed in the footage you need to be careful you don’t jeopardise a potential prosecution.

You also need to be mindful of GDPR by anonymising people, locations and vehicles.

But used well in short clips shared across social media the footage taps into the trend for authenticity, fly-on-the-wall footage and user generated content.

It can also deliver comms messages powerfully in a sharable format.

  1. A video that uses CCTV to show a man convicted of flytipping

Fly-tipping costs the UK taxpayer £58 million a year and can blight communities. This video from Sandwell Council catches a flytipper in the act. By re-purposing court evidence after conviction it can show that warnings people will be caught have teeth.

2. A recruitment video that shows warts and all body worn video footage

‘Do you really want to be a cop?’ a voice asks as he runs through a series of unglamorous episodes from being attacked by the person you are trying to help to spending hours in the cold guarding a crime scene. This is aimed at weeding out those who really want to be a police officer.

3. A video that shows CCTV of an RNLI rescue

Not every organisation will have footage as dramatic as this but blue light services will have ready access to action footage. Used right the footage can tell the wider story of work in a community.

4. A live stream of a video to show traffic conditions

Traffic Scotland look after the key roads north of Hadrians Wall. In snow, ice or on busy days motorists can find value from checking what the road is doing.  In poor conditions having a look at the A9 south of Wick is useful. You can do that via a webpage here or select others across Scotland here. This reduces calls to the call centre.


5. A video that shows poor driving can endanger staff

Bins get people aggravated. Its important that bins are collected and sometimes motoroists need to have patience. This clip from East Northamptonshire Council shows a car mount the pavement and almost hit an operative. This shows the conditions that staff work under and re-inforces a plea for patience.

6. A body worn camera video that shows an incident

When police in County Durham were attacked body-worn camera footage helped show what officers faced and helped with the witness appeal.

7. As footage for a fly-on-the-wall documentary

Public sector organisations are often approached by documentary makers to take part in fly-on-the-wall programmes. There are a lot of questions to ask before letting the cameras in. The exercise is not without risk. But West Midlands Fire Service body worn camera footage proved to be the backbone to the ‘Into the Fire’ TV documentary. This can help deliver fire messages to a prime-time audience.

You can find out about the Essential Video Skills for Comms workshops I deliver right here. Shout if I can help.

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