'Big Brother' Councils Treble CCTV Cameras

CCTV camera
Big Brother Britain: Councils operate 60,000 CCTV cameras

Fears are growing over "Big Brother" councils after it was revealed they have trebled the number of CCTV cameras.

Privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch revealed the figures, after putting in a Freedom Of Information request to every council in the country.

Director Alex Deane said the rise of the expensive "surveillance networks" had made little impact on the crime figures they were designed to cut.

He said: "Local councils across Britain are creating enormous networks of CCTV at great expense, but the evidence for the ability of CCTV to deter or solve crimes is sketchy at best.

"The quality of footage is frequently too poor to be used in courts, the cameras are often turned off to save money and control rooms are rarely manned 24 hours a day.

"If you ask people whether they would prefer a camera or a police officer, I’m sure they would say an officer.

"Another main concern is privacy – people are concerned about the permanent retention of images of them doing perfectly innocent things like walking into a council building."

The study, entitled Big Brother Is Watching, found that 418 local authorities control 59,753 cameras - 10 years ago the total was 21,000.

Sky News (18 December 2009)