A senior police officer in Devon has called for a debate into the use of CCTV in the UK. Inspector Paul Morgan of South Hams East expressed concerns about the way that CCTV is introduced unquestioningly:
We're probably the most monitored country in the world per head of population. As a citizen I think there are questions about whether it is the most appropriate use of funds to reducing crime levels.
A large amount of the UK public believes that CCTV is an effective way of fighting crime and so politicians at both a local and national level promote CCTV schemes to boost their popularity. But the public is not well informed and it should be the job of politicians to make evidence based decisions rather than waste public money on ineffective and illiberal measures like surveillance cameras.
Inspector Morgan recently warned Totnes town councillors:
Systems cost a hell of a lot of money to maintain. In a time of reducing crime, is it something that you want to invest a lot of money in?
We agree that a full debate into CCTV is urgently needed, one that looks at all of the facts and considers whether the £500 million of public money could have been spent far more effectively to strengthen our communities and reduce crime. If we do not then yet more cameras will be installed, including a new generation of cameras with technologies such as facial and behavioral recognition that will further erode the freedoms of law abiding citizens and irretrievably change our society into an Orwellian nightmare.