Friday, 18 July 2014

Criminals Caught on Camera Series 2 is go

The first episode of the second series of Criminals: Caught on Camera went out last night. I'm thrilled to tell you it got a sizeable audience which has put the team (who've been working on it since the beginning of the year) in a very good mood.

If you missed it, it's up here on Demand 5, along with all the programmes from series one, which is nice.

If you'd rather just be put off ever buying a street vendor's hot dog ever again, have a watch of this:

If you'd just rather have a look at some screengrabs, fill your boots:

Favourite shot in the whole programme

Good lens flare

Bit post-watershed, this one

Well, exactly.

Friday night fun

Very unwise (see right of picture)
If you want to see the stories behind the images above, do give it a try on Demand 5.

Finally I've been told series one has been sold to New Zealand, Sweden, Poland, and Finland among other countries. And in NZ we have the evidence they're actually broadcasting it...

World domination is, admittedly, some way off, but it's a start.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Gangs and Guns: Caught on Camera - new series!

Hi there. 

Just to let you know the first show of the second series of Criminals: Caught on Camera will go out for the first time on Channel 5 at 9pm this Thursday 17 July - less than a week's time.

It's called Gangs and Guns: Caught on Camera and it's a one-off, focusing on London. The remainder of the series is in the process of being made. It's coming together slowly but surely, and the stuff I've seen so far has been excellent.

I was very proud of the first series and the ratings it got. I'm confident we've got the mix right for the second series. Fingers crossed, you'll like it.

I'll try to get some publicity and screenshots up on this blog when they've been approved, but in the mean time I would be most grateful if you could tell your friends, set your PVRs or even sit down to watch live on Thursday 17 July at 9pm on Channel 5. I will be.



Sunday, 22 June 2014

Time to put CCTV cameras in care homes

These three men were employed by the Shaw Healthcare group as carers at The Granary care home in Wraxall, Somerset.

Picture: BBC News
Between September 2012 and January 2013 they were filmed dishing out some seriously vile physical and verbal abuse to a 79 year old woman they were meant to be looking after.

Picture: BBC News
Gladys Wright had advanced dementia, and was only able to understand simple instructions. Watch the BBC News report and listen to Mrs Wright screaming in terror as the men pull her around and abuse her in her own bed.

Picture: BBC News
They were only caught because Mrs Wright's son had installed a covert camera in her room, for his own peace of mind. He had no inkling she was being badly treated. 

These men were not carers. One was a chef, more used to manhandling bits of meat. Who knows how many other residents they abused? Who knows how many other elderly people are being abused on a daily basis by poorly-trained, poorly-paid, temperamentally unsuitable care home staff? We don't.

On the face of it, The Granary was an excellent home - purpose-built, and relatively new. Gladys' son James said he wouldn't have taken his mother there if he wasn't convinced it was going to provide her with the care she needed. 

I am currently dealing with two people who are trying to get their allegations of abuse in two homes taken seriously. 

They have been documenting mysterious injuries, theft and negligence. Unfortunately, they don't have any footage, and therefore don't have any proof things are going wrong. The management know this, and can paint the complainants as troublemakers.

I have presented a series of programmes about the efficacy of using cctv to catch criminals. There is no doubt monitored and unmonitored cctv systems can be excellent evidence-gathering and crime-prevention tools. 

I have many qualms about the insidious and all-pervasive nature of cctv, its scope for misuse and how it's challenging our concepts of privacy with very little in the way of popular debate. 

I also agree that the best way to protect elderly and isolated people in residential care, is to recruit people for whom caring is a vocation, train them superbly, manage them effectively and pay them well. Alongside this, their work needs to be regularly scrutinised and audited. Whistleblowing should be encouraged, complaints should be dealt with quickly and properly, and any whiff of profiteering or corner-cutting should be punished severely.

But that is simply not happening across the industry, and it will not happen properly unless we, as a society, are prepared to spend more than we currently do on care for the elderly. That will take years.

In the meantime, people continue to be abused. How many other violent assaults are being carried out where the only safeguard is trust?

To fill in the gaps and strengthen the safety net, we need compulsory, effective, well-monitored and protected cctv systems in residential care homes. Arguments about protecting privacy are specious. The industry will hide behind them because they see cctv as a cost not a benefit.

A bank wouldn't trust an employee to go into its vaults unmonitored. Yet we are leaving unmotivated, poorly-paid and badly-trained care home staff alone with the most valuable thing this society has - human lives.


If you want to support the campaign to get cctv in care homes, like this facebook page (NB I am not responsible for any of its content).
If you are concerned there is abuse, neglect or failing standards at a care home near you, send me a tweet.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 16 June 2014

That RVP goal

I was sitting here:

Tolworth station. Evening rush hour.
I became aware of it on twitter. Various people were saying RVP's header was everything from “very good” to “stunning”.

A couple mentioned he’d scored from some distance out. I thought I had an idea of what it might look like.

By the time I got home it was 2-1 to Holland. By the time I got the kids down it was 4-1 to Holland. By the time Arjen Robben scored his second to make it 5-1, I was actually in front of the television, but had to wait until some time after the final whistle before I finally got to see that goal.

Good God. On first view it’s amazing. On repeated viewings it becomes clear this is one of the greatest World Cup goals of all time.

(Yahoo Sports)
Barring something extraordinary, it will become the defining footballing image of Brazil 2014. To have the instinct, athleticism and technique to execute something like that…

First off, look at the run he makes after Blind hits the ball. A straight line 25 yard sprint which he covers in 3 seconds. Whilst doing this, he spots Casillas off his line.

BBC Sport

Then, as the ball approaches, van Persie checks, opens up his body, and takes two positioning baby-steps, with most of his weight still moving laterally across the turf.

Now in the perfect position, van Persie jumps off the tips of his toes, meeting the ball (which is travelling away from him) before he fully leaves the ground.

BBC Sport

In the microsecond of actual contact van Persie needs to nut the ball over Casillas powerfully enough to prevent anyone getting in behind and clearing it off the line. And he needs to kill the backspin to stop it floating over the crossbar.

RVP shapes his body to nail the upward trajectory and power. He creates sidespin with the angle off his forehead. The contact is perfect. The resultant swallow-dive as the ball loops into the top right hand corner of the Spanish net is a transcendent moment in sport. 

BBC Sport

Watching it from the aerial camera is eerie. For the briefest of moments, as the ball sails off his head, the small figure in the centre of shot appears to hang, defying gravity. Flying. Van Persie is three feet in the air, chest pushed forward, back bowed, eyes on the ball as it courses goalward. There is something about that moment which defies ordinary, mortal thinking.

BBC Sport

This sort of thing doesn’t often happen in football, let alone to change the direction of a massively important game on the global stage against the world champions. But, on Friday, it did. And I will be boring my grandchildren about it.


Friday, 13 June 2014

Getting rich quick

I got roped into an impromptu EuroMillions lottery syndicate today. I haven’t spent any money on the lottery in years. Jonathan Ross called it “the stupid tax” on Radio 2 once. 

But when required to stump up £1.25 for the good of the lottery’s shareholders, it seems I can be persuaded. 

Having bought the ticket, one of our number led the fantasies in what we’d do with our money.

All I could think about was what a hassle it would be. On balance, I’d rather not win. 

First you’d have all the publicity to cope with, and that would be a big disruption. It’s my daughter’s school fete on Saturday and my wife is doing a lot of the organising. I’m down to help out on the gate too.

Then we’d have to think about moving house and all that palaver. You’d have to employ people to do stuff, and I’m sure my motivation to work would diminish, even though I’d try to pretend it hadn’t.

Unless your purpose in life is pursuit of money, suddenly becoming rich beyond avarice is likely to be an enormous administrative hassle and inconvenience.

If I do win, though, I won’t give it back.