On Wednesday (23rd April) the Oxford East Area Parliament once again discussed proposals for CCTV on the Cowley Road. The committee was presented with a report of the East Area Parliament CCTV subgroup as well as a report prepared by Optimum Security Services Ltd entitled “Cowley Road Report and Budgetary Costings for 4 Cameras”.
No CCTV spoke at the meeting and later issued a press release summarising their response to the latest developments. Points raised include:
- * The proposed four camera scheme put to the meeting had many similarities with the plan prepared by Optimum Security in November 2006 - most notably all cameras being in line of sight of each other. This would allow people to be tracked all the way along the Cowley Road.
- * No mention was made in the progress report of a one year trial of the cameras which was previously agreed as a condition of installation. The councillors therefore delayed their final decision until it was agreed that cameras would only be installed on a trial basis.
- * Since our Interim Report into the proposals for CCTV on the Cowley Road was published in November 2007 even more evidence has come to light that shows that CCTV is not an effective crime-fighting tool. Sources of this new evidence include the two ongoing parliamentary inquiries into surveillance in the UK.
- * The Progress Report states that there are no safety concerns in relation to the wireless camera technology. The report’s authors base this position on a May 2006 document produced by the World Health Organisation. However, in April 2007 the national press reported serious concerns about wi-fi safety and in May 2007 these concerns were echoed by BBC’s Panorama. Clearly more work is needed to assess the health implications of this technology. In reaching its conclusion, the council is at best guilty of shoddy research.
We urge the East Area Parliament to reject all plans to install CCTV on the Cowley Road.
Read our full press release at www.no-cctv.org.uk/press.
Better community reduces crime, technology does not.