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12 Jan 2010 : Column 400

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, I was only aware of this when I was given a letter from the noble Lord and I thank him for that. All I say is that I will provide a list of the things Dr Savage has said, some of which are fairly objectionable and unpleasant. If all those things have been said in a context that makes them okay, we will think about looking at them again, but I would be extremely surprised if some of those statements could be put in any context that would make them anything other than abhorrent.

Crime: CCTV


2.59 pm

Asked By Lord Craig of Radley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): My Lords, there is some published research on the value of CCTV but we are working with the police to strengthen the evidence base. However, we know from actual cases the value of CCTV in the detection and conviction of offenders, involving terrorism, murder, volume crime and anti-social behaviour. The Government encourage local partners to consider the contribution which CCTV can make in fighting crime as part of their crime reduction strategies.

Lord Craig of Radley: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that Answer. Does he not accept that the claimed value of CCTV is not borne out by recent official information, which shows that the number of crimes solved by using CCTV in London, for example, has fallen from one in two in 2003-04 to only one in seven in 2008-09? Does the remit of the new national CCTV oversight body have any regard to the cost-effectiveness and value for money of the considerable number of CCTV systems installed at great expense by Her Majesty's Government?

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, the noble and gallant Lord has asked a number of questions. I would refute some of the claims made about the percentage of crimes solved by CCTV, which are based on inputs by individual police officers and accumulated in a certain way. No judgment has been made of their accuracy and general statistics cannot be given. It is worth knowing, however, that from April 2007 to March 2008, CCTV was used in 86 out of 90 investigations of murder and helped to solve 65 of them. The camera footage captured crime taking place or was used to track movements of suspects. In a third of those cases, witnesses were able to identify the murderer from it. CCTV plays a huge role with regard to serious crime and is very valuable. I have mentioned previously in the House that the regulator needs to obtain accurate, empirical evidence, but I have no doubt that CCTV is extremely important in stopping serious crime and in detecting terrorist offences.

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Lord Hughes of Woodside: My Lords, is there not a flaw in the argument of people who say that CCTV is not so effective and that its use should therefore be reduced and then draw the conclusion that, because the police solve fewer crimes than perhaps they did six months ago, we should abolish the police?

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, my noble friend points out that the arguments against CCTV can become somewhat circular. There is talk about how many cameras there are. The way in which the huge total is reached is by someone walking down Putney high street, counting the number of cameras and multiplying that by the number of streets in the UK. That is not a very accurate way of arriving at the final figure. There are a lot of cameras because individuals feel safe having cameras on their property and put them there. There is a camera in every cash machine; there is a camera in buses for looking down the bus lane. Those are all co-ordinated with the city-centre sited cameras which the Government helped local communities put up. When footage from them is pulled together in the case of a serious crime, such as the attack on Tiger Tiger, amazingly conclusive evidence is built up that lets us track people down and capture them.

Baroness Neville-Jones: My Lords, in connection with the points that the Minister makes about value for money, will he say something about the quality of the pictures? In a number of cases there have been pictures but not of sufficient quality to provide evidence, in particular evidence admissible in court. What measures are the Government taking to ensure that the pictures are of a standard sufficient to provide admissible evidence in court?

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, the noble Baroness has raised a very good point. Very often, the pictures are not of sufficient quality. The CCTV regulator has just come into post and will embark on a programme of work to obtain empirical evidence to achieve that. He will come to us with that programme of work in the next couple of months and then move forward to look into some of these areas. Some cameras are not controlled by the Government, but they do give a certain security. Last summer, I travelled quite a lot on the Tube. Announcements were being made that there were cameras on stations and in trains. I thought that I would do my own survey and so I asked people travelling on the Tube what they thought. After the shock of someone talking to them and looking as though they were about to be mugged, they generally agreed that the cameras made them feel more secure. The cameras have a real value.

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff: What has been the impact of CCTV cameras on unmanned stations? Have they decreased the crime rate and increased the number of prosecutions when crimes have occurred on unmanned station platforms?

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, I do not know the details on that specific point so perhaps I may come back to the noble Baroness on it. However, what

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I do know, because we do have statistics, is that cameras have made a considerable difference in car parks in terms of attacks on cars or attacks on people within those car parks. I have no doubt that CCTV adds value. We also have a lot of hearsay evidence, which is why the regulator must go into it, of rather unpleasant people and yobs saying, "Look out, there's a camera". I do believe that it has an impact, but we need definitive and accurate analysis of it.

Baroness Masham of Ilton: My Lords, does the Minister agree that there is frustration when there is no film in the cameras? Some people get away with crimes when the evidence is not there because the film has been left out.

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, I absolutely agree. I know that sometimes with people's private CCTV it is not in there and they then pay the price. However, it would be quite unacceptable if this was happening with cameras run by councils and the Government. They would deserve to be keelhauled. It should not happen.

Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, the Minister will share my view that the public have high expectations of CCTV. Will the research he mentioned look at the greater or lesser effectiveness of it in different places? He mentioned car parks. Knowing where CCTV works best would allay a lot of the fears of those concerned for civil liberties as against the effectiveness of the measure.

Lord West of Spithead: My Lords, the noble Baroness makes a good point. As I say, we are waiting for the programme of work to come from the regulator. That is certainly something I will make sure is looked at. Clearly there is always a concern about the surveillance society. As I said, I looked at that last summer and talked to people. They were not concerned at all about the fact that there were cameras there because they felt so much safer. We have to get this into balance and not go mad about the surveillance society. Generally people are not tracked from here to here to here. Governments tend to be far more incompetent-not this specific one, but generally-at doing something like that, so the fear does not necessarily have to be taken into extreme account, but we have to take it into account.

Digital Economy Bill [HL]

Bill Main Page
Copy of the Bill
Explanatory Notes

Committee (2nd Day)

3.06 pm

Clause 2 : OFCOM reports on infrastructure, internet domain names etc

Amendment 20

Moved by Lord Clement-Jones

20: Clause 2, page 3, line 23, leave out "geographic coverage of the different UK networks" and insert "use of electromagnetic spectrum for wireless telegraphy in the United Kingdom"

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Lord Clement-Jones: It is always useful to have a few general words to say at the beginning of any amendment when the Chamber is clearing. I shall try to do a "David Coleman" for a certain period of time until I know that the Minister is able to hear what I have to say.

The purpose of Amendment 20 is to ensure that the same approach is adopted under new Section 134B, inserted by Clause 2, for all relevant communications networks, both fixed and mobile. The current text appears to draw a distinction between the reporting of fixed networks and mobile networks. In an era of ever-closer integration and convergence of services over the respective networks, such a distinction seems inappropriate and misleading as it perpetuates the idea that there are completely separate and distinct markets which do not impact on each other. This is increasingly no longer the case. In the last meeting of the Committee, we discussed the whole essence of convergence and the fact that we are now in a post-convergence age. The services conveyed are similar regardless of the plumbing. This new Section 134B should reflect that. I beg to move.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): This amendment might be based on some confusion about the meaning of subsections (1) and (2) in new Section 134B. I wholeheartedly concur with the analysis of the noble Lord. The intention is that the issues covered in subsection (1) are all those relating to networks, whether fixed, mobile or satellite networks, or networks based on other technologies. The issues covered in subsection (2) relate to services provided in relation to or over those networks. We are not making a distinction and recognise the point that the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, drew to our attention.

Turning specifically to the wording of the amendment, we consider the inclusion of geographic coverage of the different UK networks to be an important part of the report because geographical coverage matters from an economic and social perspective. That being so, I believe it should remain within the scope of the report. The other day, we debated the importance of universal coverage. Spectrum is used for a variety of services that fall within the definition of electronic communication services, mobile services and broadcast TV/radio being the most obvious. Spectrum is also used for some point-to-point communication links, in which form they can be an important wholesale input to other services. For example, point-to-point microwave links are sometimes used to provide connection to radio base stations, especially when they are geographically remote. The use of electromagnetic spectrum is included separately in new Section 134(2)(b) as services matters. Spectrum itself is not a physical network, which is why it is included under services so that the report will include the type of services provided when using the electronic communications network.

I trust that, in the light of that explanation, the noble Lord will consider withdrawing his amendment.

Lord Clement-Jones: I thank the Minister for that helpful clarification. I suspect that this will be one of the easier amendments that he has to deal with today.

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We will consider his reply carefully. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 20 withdrawn.

Amendments 21 and 22 not moved.

Amendment 23

Moved by Lord Lucas

23: Clause 2, page 3, line 41, at end insert-

"( ) the resilience of the networks to disruption by physical damage or loss of power supply,

( ) the ability of the networks to allow citizens to communicate with each other, and authorities to communicate with citizens, during an emergency"

Lord Lucas: I shall speak also to Amendment 26. These amendments amplify the scope of the report that is the subject of this clause. My reasons for adding these three items are that some key aspects of the network do not seem to be included in the rest of the, admittedly quite extensive, wording in this clause.

First, Ofcom should have regard to the resilience of the network. In the past year or two, we have been through a period when the resilience of the economy and our banking protection system was tested. It is a good idea to look at these matters before we hit a crisis. I do not think we need to specify what kind of crisis might hit a network. It could be anything from power difficulties to difficulties relating to other kinds of incidents: anything that could impact on the performance of the network. We are going through a period when the resilience of the network is being systematically decreased.

During the big boom in building mobile services, we were putting in base stations with one or two weeks' reserve power capacity so that the mobile network could stand quite a long period of difficulty, such as being unable to get to base stations because of the snow. It gave you a week to get there. Now, we are putting in base stations that have only 24 hours', sometimes even less, reserve power capacity. If we continue on that pattern, which Ofcom appears to be allowing solely on an economic basis, we will end up with a network that is quite fragile. That sort of thing ought to be part of Ofcom's remit when it comes to this report.

Secondly, going back to my original complaints about Ofcom's lack of attention to citizens, when we had the bombings on 7 July, the first thing that happened was that people's mobile communications services were cut, which was fine, under those circumstances. When nothing too devastating or terrible in a geographic sense has happened, people can be relied upon to act sensibly, and we walked home. You could not tell anyone where you were, but eventually you turned up and things were all right. But if something happened which was more frightening, to leave the population in a position where their preferred means of communication was disabled is an invitation to panic and irrationality.

I know there were reasons why communications were disabled in those particular circumstances, but when we are doing a report on the communications system, we really ought to understand how much a key part of people's lives we have allowed mobile communications to become. It is important that we

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should seek to preserve that, in circumstances when the Government want to have an effect on how people behave. If, for some reason, they want to restrict people's movements, for example to prevent the spread of a disease, they could not do that without communicating properly with people. If you have a communications system-particularly a mobile system-which falls over in an emergency, you are going to be unable to do what you need to do.

3.15 pm

Amendment 26 picks up an additional circumstance to which Ofcom should have regard. It is not only physical criteria and physical disruption of the service which matter. There can be circumstances, going back to 7 July, where something that does not of itself damage the communications infrastructure places such a load on it that it is disabled. In the context of this report, that is something that Ofcom ought to have regard to. I beg to move.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, it may be for the convenience of the Committee if I speak to Amendment 30 at this point. My amendment is properly grouped with my noble friend's, but it raises a slightly different though highly relevant point.

GPS satellite navigation systems are by now fairly ubiquitous, but there is much misunderstanding about how they work and the robustness or otherwise of the system. I intend to give the Committee a brief introduction to GPS, but it will be a gross simplification of an ingenious system.

A constellation of satellites has been launched by the US Government who operate the system as a free good for the world, although the primary motivation was obviously military. GPS provides highly accurate positioning and timing. Ground stations operated by the US Government track, communicate with and control the satellites. The ground stations predict and provide high-accuracy orbit and clock information for each satellite. These data are transmitted to each satellite. Each satellite transmits its high-accuracy orbit and clock information as well as coarse orbit and clock information for all the other satellites to the receiver- that is, your GPS hand-held unit or your sat-nav in your car.

The clever bit is as follows. The satellites continuously transmit their time-stamped signals. These travel at the speed of light-it is not instantaneous-at about 300 kilometres per millisecond. This means that the distance from the satellite to the receiver can be calculated accurately. The receiver uses signals from several satellites. By performing something akin to simultaneous equations, the receiver can determine position and height above sea level. Also, and most importantly, the time can be calculated to within around 40 nanoseconds, which is not very long since a nanosecond is a billionth of a second.

So far, so good; but there is a problem. The GPS satellite emits its signal at a power of about 100 watts, which is roughly equivalent to a light bulb, from 20,000 kilometres away. Therefore the signal received on earth is vanishingly weak and can be swamped by, for example, natural atmospheric conditions during

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high solar activity. It is also easily swamped by locally generated signals. This has already occurred accidentally in San Diego and elsewhere due to the malfunction of legitimate equipment. But it can also be done with malign intent using a GPS jammer, which needs only about one watt of power to be effective. Details of the necessary technology and sources of supply are inevitably available on the internet. They are often bought to overcome a vehicle's security system or to bypass a rental vehicle's charging system. GPS jamming can cause obvious difficulties for navigation and positioning systems, but the loss of the timing signal could be extremely inconvenient for certain specialised operations.

GPS is a space-based system, but there is also a terrestrial system called e-Loran, which should not be confused with the older Loran systems. e-Loran is nearly as accurate as GPS and provides a good timing capability. The system of operation is basically the same as for GPS, but the transmitters are land-based and have outputs in the multi-kilowatt range. However, the principle of measuring the time of flight of the radio signal remains the same, and because much higher powers can be used with a terrestrial system, it is much harder to jam than GPS. Further, since the e-Loran system operates on a different frequency range, it is unlikely to fail at the same time as GPS.

The same cannot be said for the EU Galileo system. I can well recall being told by Ministers at the Dispatch Box that Galileo can be used for safety-critical applications, and I believed them. But the problem is that Galileo operates using more or less the same system and on the same frequency as the US-operated GPS system. I have also now found out that it can be interfered with very easily, and I do not believe that the science and technology has changed significantly over recent years. So my first question for the Minister is this: in the light of the ready availability of GPS jammers and the associated technology, is he of the opinion that Galileo can still be used for safety-critical applications or those that affect critical national infrastructure? If he is not of that opinion, why have we expended huge amounts of effort and money on Galileo? What can Galileo do that a combination of the US GPS and e-Loran systems cannot?

Opposition amendments are sometimes thought to be unworkable, unnecessary or wrecking. My amendment could fall into the unnecessary category, as I know that the Government are already on to the case and that the noble Lord, Lord West, has been heavily involved, particularly with e-Loran.

Last November, I attended a series of GPS jamming trials off Tynemouth in the north-east which had been organised by Trinity House. At one point, my own hand-held GPS suggested that I was in Romania. More disturbing was that the GPS on the "Galatea", Trinity House's own vessel, was inaccurate, by only a few kilometres, but it was nevertheless believable. The dangers are obvious. Of course, I am not naive. I expect that Trinity House would like to run the UK part of the e-Loran system, and it already has a trial transmitter in Cumbria. However, it does not seem to me that e-Loran is a particularly expensive system in comparison with a space-based one, especially as there

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is already a legacy Loran infrastructure in place with 72 per cent of the world's 50 busiest ports covered by Loran.

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