UK Liberty

You don’t want to see CCTV on every corner? Don’t move to London!

Posted in surveillance society by ukliberty on May 20, 2007

The BBC:

A senior police officer has said he fears the spread of CCTV cameras is leading to “an Orwellian situation“.

Deputy chief constable of Hampshire Ian Readhead said Britain could become a surveillance society with cameras on every street corner.

He told the BBC’s Politics Show that CCTV was being used in small towns and villages where crime rates were low.

Mr Readhead also called for the retention of some DNA evidence and the use of speed cameras to be reviewed.

His force area includes the small town of Stockbridge, where parish councillors have spent £10,000 installing CCTV.

Mr Readhead questioned whether the relatively low crime levels justified the expense and intrusion.

‘Every street corner?’

“I’m really concerned about what happens to the product of these cameras, and what comes next?” he said.

“If it’s in our villages, are we really moving towards an Orwellian situation where cameras are at every street corner?

“And I really don’t think that’s the kind of country that I want to live in.”

There are up to 4.2 million CCTV cameras in Britain – about one for every 14 people.

The UK also has the world’s biggest DNA database, with 3.6 million DNA samples on file.

Good on him for speaking up though.


3 Responses

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  1. Andy said, on May 21, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    I wonder how accurate the “1 camera for every 14 people” actually is. A little research suggests that no-one really seems to know the total number of cameras in the UK. The 1/14 figure seems to be extrapolated from a survey of CCTV cameras in the London borough of Putney ( which seems a bit dubious. OTOH even if it’s wrong by a factor of ten, it’s still a pretty scary figure.

  2. ukliberty said, on May 21, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    You are right. See SpyBlog’s CCTV soundbites for more info.

    In my opinion it’s lazy reporting. They could at the very least refer to such studies so that we can see for ourselves what these numbers are based on.

  3. […] who are concerned, it’s thoughtful police officers – yes, police officers – such as Deputy Chief Constable Ian Redhead, who doesn’t think a country with a camera on every street corner is a country that […]

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