Many may think that the job involves sitting in front of TV’s all day watching the world go about its business. This of course is just a misconception.
There are various types of CCTV operative roles. From guarding premises with onsite CCTV cameras, to working for your local council observing banks of screens linked to several hundred cameras.
The ability to observe and understand when trouble might occur is a skill that a CCTV operator has to have. You need to be highly observant and develop your understanding of body language. With multiple screens in front of you, the job requires you to be able to filter through the noise of people going about their everyday business and be alert to those whose agenda maybe more unsavory.
A CCTV operator will often work 4 days on, 4 days off, with 3 shift patterns that will cover the round the clock surveillance. The job may also involve you working alone. However, there is no time to get lonely. Working a council CCTV control room can mean dealing with the main police control room, and also visits from police officers throughout your shift. Operators in these circumstances will often have to log certain events just in case they need to give evidence in court.
The real adrenaline can be felt when a crime is underway. A council CCTV operator will have to have a complete knowledge of the area under surveillance. When a suspect is on the move an operator will need to know exactly what cameras to follow, so that the suspect can be tracked. Then the police need to be alerted, with the operator giving vital information as to the description and location of the suspect.
One thing CCTV operation is not, is a way of spying on the public. There is a strict code of practice in public CCTV that no footage leaves the control room unless seized by the police.
Overall a job in public CCTV can be very rewarding. The close relationship with the police, and knowing that in some circumstances you are actually preventing crimes from taking place can be very satisfying indeed.
Qualifications required: Level 2 Award in CCTV Operations (Public Space Surveillance)
Average Salary: £15,600 (London – £18,000) – 2013 figures Reed.co.uk