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Bizarre Video Surveillance Vehicle
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VictorianNoah


Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2009
Post: #1
03-05-2009 07:35 PM

Did anyone notice that strange 4x4 parked in front of the William Hill by Forest Hill Station around noon on Friday, May 1st?

It was all black, with riot mesh protecting the windows. It had a 4-way video camera on the roof, plus a video camera in the front seat next to the driver, recording people walking by on the pavement. The operator was talking on his mobile like any old nonchalant public servant you'd see doing public works.

Signs on the side said "VIDEO SURVEILLANCE VEHICLE", and "WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE POLICE". I rang the number on the side and got an operator for the "National Control Centre". Google produced no results, although it may be this:

http://www.highways.gov.uk/knowledge/1291.aspx

When I came back out of Sainsbury's about 15 minutes later it was gone. Sounds very Orwellian to me! My imagination runs wild. Any ideas?

Photos attached.

           

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bigbadwolf


Posts: 100
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #2
03-05-2009 08:20 PM

I find it even stranger that an outfit working on behalf or in partnership with the Police has an 0870 number on the side of their vehicles. Now that's odd.

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eddy


Posts: 39
Joined: Jul 2008
Post: #3
03-05-2009 10:36 PM

would not suprise me if it was part of the highways people.
its the start of the month and they sit in just that sort of place to catch people that have not renewed their car tax.
sneeky but thats the way these people do things these days.

take the picture to your local mp and ask what is this car filming in foresthill, they should know just going by the number on the van,
but i do think its number plate reading on the passing traffic.

what a shame he did not park outside the bird in hand , he could then catch all the people going past the do no enter sign. Blink

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ForestGump


Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #4
04-05-2009 07:12 AM

Usually the DVLA use unmarked white vans vehicles for registration number checking.

As the vehicle has stickers on the side indicating it has CCTV it would seem it is for surveillance of people rather than registration numbers, I don't think it would see many cars coming out of the betting office?

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ForestGump


Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #5
04-05-2009 07:22 AM

Found this Yorkshire (?) blog from last July and if true, a strange conversation after calling the numbrer displayed.

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ForestGump


Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #6
04-05-2009 08:09 AM

Having carrried out a thorough investigation it is believed the vehicle is operated by Group 4 and is used to monitor cash deliveries.

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VictorianNoah


Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2009
Post: #7
04-05-2009 10:57 AM

Hi Forest,

Good snooping. What makes you think the vehicle belongs to Group4 and, more importantly, do you mean this Group4?

Cheers,
VN

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chrispy


Posts: 6
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #8
05-05-2009 06:05 PM

The same van was in Sydenham this morning. On the main drag opposite the turning for Silverdale.

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VictorianNoah


Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2009
Post: #9
05-05-2009 06:37 PM

Hmm, good eye Chrispy. I just did a double check and didn't see any William Hill's around there.. so that could be a strike against the cash monitoring hypothesis.

On the other hand there is that Barclay's on the corner, so maybe the one in FH was actually watching the Lloyds across the way. That would fit with ForestGump's cash drop off security service idea, which does correspond with the Group 4 website.

Anyone got the guts to call the number on the side of the van? I just finished reading "Little Brother" by Cory Doctrow and got spooked after the operator answered (great book BTW, can download for free here). :-)

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Cellar Door


Posts: 356
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #10
06-05-2009 10:48 AM

On Friday afternoon I arrived back early in Forest Hill for a dental appointment.

Havelock Walk was full of police. Not the "bobby" style but senior looking chaps. Detectives.

Later on at The Hob, I was told by a friend who lives in Havelock Walk that there was a major incident that may have involved a hostage.

I've been scanning the SLP and BBC for further details since then. To date nothing apart from the word-of-mouth that I mentioned.

This van and the Walk incident could be related.

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VictorianNoah


Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2009
Post: #11
06-05-2009 11:05 AM

Very interesting!

Could be that the mysterious video van is on some kind of contract for mobile surveillance, on the look out for people involved in this incident?

I am familiar with various facial recognition software through my work and know that there are reasonable applications out there which can do very rapid matching. TfL uses these on some of the travelators in the underground. My guess is that the back of the van, the part with the mesh grating, is full of some kind of image processing machine.

This might make more sense with the "Working in partnership with the police" panel on the side. Some huge proportion of robberies and crimes occur close to the criminal's home. It might make sense for the police to monitor passerbys at peak times near the transport interchanges to see if they get a hit.

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Snazy


Posts: 1,504
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #12
11-05-2009 03:09 PM

Certainly seems to be around CIT vans a lot. A few firms use these services now. Bikes, high visibility vans etc.
So im guessing it was there for CIT as previously stated.

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blushingsnail


Posts: 364
Joined: Dec 2005
Post: #13
12-05-2009 10:40 AM

The Havelock Walk incident was a robbery at one of the houses. I don't know what time it happened. I doubt the vehicle is connected: why would the police install a video surveillance vehicle after such an incident?

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blushingsnail


Posts: 364
Joined: Dec 2005
Post: #14
15-05-2009 03:07 PM

The surveillance vehicle was outside William Hill again this morning.

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Samurai


Posts: 30
Joined: Jun 2007
Post: #15
15-05-2009 03:47 PM

Yeah I saw it going to the train station this morning at around 9.30am.

Very strange!

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VictorianNoah


Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2009
Post: #16
18-05-2009 02:05 PM

Hi guys,

Turns out that ForestGump was right. It's a Group 4 private vehicle that records cash deliveries. I just called them and asked what the deal was. The operator wouldn't tell me where they were delivering, so don't know if it is related to the banks or to William Hill. But mystery solved!

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