Monday, June 30, 2008

CCTV In Parliament Square

Had a lovely walk round Parliament Square on Saturday, beautiful weather and lots of actual tourists masking exactly what I was doing: checking where the CCTV coverage is, and working out the best method for completely blocking off the (manually operated) entrance to Parliament.

As far as I could tell, there are two CCTV cameras on the lampost nearest the Churchill statue. There's one on top of the building behind Churchill. There's one on the building on the corner opposite that (although there is another one on that building, it's mounted facing the opposite direction with no apparent rotation platform). So that's four on the left hand side of Parliament Square as you're looking at the Houses of Parliament.

On the Houses of Parliament itself, I'm guessing the listed nature of the building has limited positioning of CCTV, but there are two on the newer section closest to Parliament Square (above and to the right of the gate). The gate, once opened, splits in two directions, to the right there is a metal barrier from above and a raised barrier (presumably also metal) from below.

There are two more CCTV cameras perched on top of the building to the right of Parliament Square. Adequate coverage and no apparent blindspots. At the moment the building directly opposite the Houses of Parliament are covered by plastic sheeting and scaffolding, but will presumably also have CCTV on top of them once the building work is completed.

Given the nature of the traffic flow, the best bet for blocking Parliament Square completely would be to crash a bendy buses across the left hand junction (from Westminster Bridge) - ideally into something heavy (like a truck) or another bus (for maximum disruption). The opposite junction doesn't have the same span and could easily be blocked using only a bendy bus.

The first crash may have the desired effect of the security staff opening the gates. Given the amount of flat surfaces around the square, and the cone effect of the Houses of Parliament's corners, the sound of the collision should be suitably amplified to make it sound significantly worse than it is. I would assume that their training would advise against assisting casualties, but that human nature would take over - the fear of negative headlines may also help in this respect.

Behind the Anti War protester there's more than enough space for helicopter landing, so this whole area would need to be torched. This would also reduce the possibility of off-road police vehicle or motorcycle mobility. Depending on the intensity of the blaze, it would also remove foot patrol assault as well. A concerted effort on the fire front would also allow it to spread to any crashed vehicles affording some protection with a "ring of fire". Similarly the smoke screen would remove at least three of the CCTV coverage.



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