The Home Affairs committee today published it’s ‘A Surveillance Society?’ report. Campaign group No CCTV calls on decision makers to halt the proliferation of surveillance cameras in the UK in light of the overwhelming evidence that they do not work and are an unnecessary intrusion into the lives of law abiding citizens.
The report points out that: “Loss of privacy through excessive surveillance erodes trust between the individual and the Government and can change the nature of the relationship between citizen and state.”[Summary p5]
The committee recommends that: “The Home Office should ensure that any extension of the use of camera surveillance is justified by evidence of its effectiveness for its intended purpose, and that its function and operation are understood by the public.” [Ground rules for Government p7]. However the report repeatedly references the lack of evidence of the effectiveness of CCTV:
- The Minister of State for Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing, Rt Hon Tony McNulty MP shared this view. He acknowledged a paucity of evidence on the effectiveness of camera surveillance in the prevention of crime but was convinced of its value:
- Can I point to a definitive national study that quantifies in any way its success as a deterrent? No, I cannot [...]
- [Report, paragraph 208]
The report recommends that:
- Under camera surveillance in public spaces, individuals have very little control over whether or not their images and movements are captured and over how they are stored and used. This lack of choice intensifies the obligation on camera operators and regulators to behave responsibly and to deploy surveillance technology only where it is of proven benefit in the fight against crime and where this benefit outweighs any detrimental effect on individual liberty.
- [Report, paragraph 221]
Since the inquiry showed that there is no proven benefit in the fight against crime we believe that local authorities and the police should cease the expansion of CCTV in the UK and begin to remove the existing cameras. This would return some much needed trust into our society, reduce public expenditure and claw back some civil liberties for citizens of the UK.
We contend that better community reduces crime, technology does not.
Read our full press release at http://www.no-cctv.org.uk/press/press_release_3.pdf