UK: 1 Surveilliance Camera for Every 14 Citizens

Coming soon to a nation near you:

It’s not a silver bullet. Take the example of the Brixton bomber [David Copeland, who planted three bombs in London in 1999]. The police gathered all the CCTV footage from all the cameras in Brixton, but it took 50 detectives over 20 days to plough through all the tapes. As it turned out, forensic evidence from the bag he was carrying proved crucial.

3 thoughts on “UK: 1 Surveilliance Camera for Every 14 Citizens

  1. sam

    I was watching a movie the other night – Green Street Hooligans – and a character noted that England was “the most watched country in the world.” I had no idea, although I’m not surprised.

  2. JB

    The problem is that you get used to seeing cameras poking out here there and everywhere after a while – so people just forget about it and don’t worry. Sigh.

  3. Mark

    Professor Norris is, with all due respect, full of piss and wind and is far too obsessed with his banal conspiracy theories.

    Far from creating a totalitarian police state, the CCTV network actually creates the reality where Britain is one of the LEAST policed countries in the world .. yet remains one of the safest countries in world (in terms of violent crime) when it is the only country in the western world where the police still aren’t armed as a matter of routine and where every detail about us isn’t indexed by our social security number.

    Perhaps he would rather live in a ‘free’ society like Sweden, where a full 10% of the population is engaged in monitoring the activities of the other 90% of the population and where police have access to every detail of your life and the press of a button.

    Sure, CCTV may not be the silver bullet in preventing terrorism .. but then there are less than a 1,000 CCTV cameras that have actually been installed for that purpose. When it comes to doing what they are there to do, the cameras are very much a silver bullet.

    CCTV is there to allow the country to run with a small and mobile police force.

    CCTV is there to make people feel safe on public transport (which is why more than 15% of those 4.2 million cameras are on busses and trains and have been shown to have virtually eliminated robbery and assault where once it was so rife that you just didn’t use is after darkness). They are not operated by the police and there is no-one there constantly monitoring each of those cameras.

    In a country where there is virtually no unemployment by western standards – and where we rely on migrant labour from abroad to keep society functioning – they also rely on those cameras to allow public transport to run safely with minimum staffing.

    20% of the cameras are only triggered by traffic violations. They are not operated by the police and there is no-one there monitoring those cameras.

    Yes, car number plates are read by cameras as they enter and exit cities .. to charge for road use in congested areas and encourage people to use the now much safer public transport. They are not operated by the police and there is no-one there constantly monitoring those cameras.

    This isn’t like security agencies targeting individuals and tapping their phones because they once sent an email that contained the words ‘death’ and ‘Bush’.

    There is a good reason why “the vast majority of citizens in the UK don’t appear to share the professor’s concerns about being under observation” .. it is because it isn’t used (and isn’t designed to be used) in the Big Brother context – which is exactly why it did take 50 civilian staff (not police officers) 20 days to plough through all the tapes.

    “As it turned out, forensic evidence from the bag he was carrying proved crucial.”

    Again just another misrepresentation. The “crucial” evidence from the bags lead to an innocent man being shot, execution style, on a tube train (for which the tapes from the cameras were used to provide the evidence required to hold the police to account for their actions). The evidence that allowed the bombers and their movements to be identified, came from the tapes of the CCTV cameras on the public transport network.

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