CCTV system operators are the link between the system technology and its effective use. An operator s performance will largely determine the level of service provided by the system. The operators of public area CCTV systems are fast becoming integral players in town centre management, for crime prevention, incident scene management and in investigation teams. Appropriate selection and recruitment practices teamed with targeted training, are needed to ensure that operators are proficient at their job: maximizing system effectiveness and limiting its misuse. Targeted training will not only improve the quality of service provided, but will also increase staff satisfaction and may help to reduce absenteeism and staff turnover. Public area CCTV operators have specific training needs over and above those of operators of private or commercial systems.
Both the police and local authorities have valuable contributions to make in ensuring public area CCTV operators are trained appropriately. Why is public area CCTV operator training important? It is important that an operator of any type of CCTV system can demonstrate the competence needed to carry out his or her work. The need for a consistently high performance from a public area CCTV operator, however, may be even greater. What makes the public area CCTV operator different? Research has shown that the public area operator’s job demands are more complex and of a higher level of difficulty than most other CCTV operator s jobs. Consequently, these operators have a number of specific training needs which differ from those of other kinds of CCTV operators. A public area CCTV operator s job, for example, requires: