POLICE officers, no matter how many are put on patrol in our streets, cannot be everywhere at once.

While they are a reassuring sight and the best deterrent to crime, we must use all available resources to allow people to feel safe and to prevent crimes being committed.

The use of CCTV has been very useful in assisting investigations identifying suspects and, often with the help of the public, bringing them to justice.

The proactive approach to monitoring people displaying suspicious behaviour is a change in tactics which may cause concern among some, who believe surveillance is being taken too far.

But as long as this is used in a targeted manner, it can have a deterrent effect - if a potential sex offender is made aware his behaviour has been under observation, and he is then intercepted by officers, he is less likely to commit a crime.

However, the cameras need to be located in places where these people are targeting their victims, and the focus on highly-visible policing must not be diluted as a result.

If conducted properly, there is potential for a method that is invaluable in gathering evidence in investigations to prevent the need for some of these investigations in the first place.