A central control houses the video feeds from the CCTV cameras, and CCTV control center operators monitor the feeds. If the operators see someone engaging in illegal activity on camera, a simple press of a button allows them to communicate with the law-breaker, via an audio component on each of the cameras. For example, if a person is seen littering on camera, an operator will immediately use the camera to speak to the litterbug.
"They will say something like, 'The gentleman in the red shirt, you have been witnessed dropping litter. Kindly pick it up and put it in the bin provided.'" said Jack Bonner, Middlesbrough town security manager. Bonner said 95 percent of the litterbugs have complied with these requests, and those that do receive a kindly "thank you."
In a recent example, camera system operators noticed three youths who climbed atop the roof of a Pizza Hut restaurant and began destroying the neon sign; upon command, the vandals stopped the destruction and even put the sign back together before fleeing.