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'Snooping' cameras are reason I'm alive

By This is Essex  |  Posted: December 30, 2010

AS A journalist it is rare to find myself at the centre of a news story.

Perhaps I could have asked my editor to overlook this story – who wouldn't be anxious about being featured heavily in the local newspaper in these circumstances?

But the truth is it's newsworthy, and the fact that I'm deputy editor makes no odds.

I feel it is a story that should be told.

Not because I want to exact revenge on my attacker – I feel sad that a man has been jailed – but because I want to throw a positive light on the emergency services.

I woke up in hospital bloodied, bruised, confidence shattered and with a concussion that lasted for weeks.

But the point is, I woke up.

And that's all down to a handful of publicity-shy people, who are often criticised, but rarely praised.

If it was not for the staff at Bar 7, who had the foresight to alert the CCTV operators about Richard Quinn, my attack would probably have gone unnoticed.

And if it was not for the diligent CCTV operatives, who painstakingly followed Quinn on camera before alerting the police and paramedics, I may have lain unconscious for hours before being found and Mr Quinn would probably have escaped conviction.

Then there's the sympathetic paramedic Lisa, who was clever enough to scroll through my mobile phone, guess who was my wife and call to tell her the bad news, and the police who reacted so quickly that they arrested Mr Quinn just seconds after he had finished stamping on my head.

Words cannot express how truly thankful I am to all of them.

People often complain about CCTV; how the world has become too like Orwell's Big Brother and how cameras intrude on our privacy.

In fact, Big Brother Watch – an anti-CCTV group – this week complained that councils across England have spent £300 million on "snooping" in the past three years, complaining that cameras "do next to nothing to solve or prevent crime".

But CCTV saved my life. There's at least one endorsement for these vital cameras.

Paul Dent-Jones

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