n Ergonomics SA : Journal of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa - A model of CCTV surveillance operator performance

Volume 22, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1010-2728



Closed circuit television (CCTV) is used extensively to improve public safety and protect critical infrastructure in many countries. However, researchers have obtained mixed findings regarding its effectiveness. One possible explanation for this is that insufficient attention has been devoted to the human side of CCTV systems and detection processes, namely CCTV surveillance operators. These operators are required to sustain high levels of alertness and attention over extended periods of time, as with CCTV surveillance. Vigilance research has identified numerous factors that influence performance. However, these have typically been developed in isolation from the perceptual-cognitive processes involved in visual search and monitoring - key activities of operators. The aim of this paper was to integrate the factors into a holistic theoretical model of performance for CCTV operators, drawing on areas such as vigilance, human factors in system design, and perceptual-cognitive processes involved in visual search and monitoring. The model consists of five key components - the socio-political and industry contexts, organisational context, technological system and job design, operator processes and performance. It can be used as a basis for research regarding CCTV and for diagnosing performance issues in the operational context.

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