Big Brother Is Watching: Local council controlled CCTV cameras treble in a decade

Research conducted by Big Brother Watch reveals that in less than 10 years the number of CCTV cameras controlled by local councils has risen from 21,000 to 60,000.
 
Top lines from the research (full breakdown by local authority available here) include:

  • There are currently at least 59,753 CCTV cameras controlled by 418 local authorities in Britain, up from 21,000 in 1999
  • This equates to 1 council owned CCTV camera for every 1000 people in the country
  • Portsmouth and Nottinghamshire Councils are in control of the most CCTV cameras with 1,454 each

  • Residents in the Outer Hebrides are the most watched people in the UK with 8.3 CCTV cameras controlled by the council for every 1000 people. Portsmouth has the second highest number of CCTV cameras per 1000 people with 7.8

  • The council controlling the highest number of CCTV cameras in Scotland is Fife with 1350 cameras
  • The council in Wales controlling the highest number of CCTV cameras is Swansea with 326 cameras
  • The council controlling the highest number of CCTV cameras in Northern Ireland is Belfast with 400 cameras
  • The total number of CCTV cameras controlled by councils in London is 8,112, which equals 1.2 CCTV cameras for every 1000 people living in the capital. Wandsworth is the most watched borough in London with 1113 CCTV cameras, or 4.3 cameras for every 1000 residents

Research conducted by Big Brother Watch – the new campaign fighting intrusions on privacy and protecting liberties – has revealed that Britain’s local councils are currently in control of 59,753 CCTV cameras. When a similar study was conducted 10 years ago, the authors found there were approximately 21,000 cameras in just 86% of local authorities; which equates to a rise of 279 per cent in under a decade.

Big Brother Is Watching is the first report by Big Brother Watch bringing together the various arguments against CCTV and placing them alongside a definitive list of the number of CCTV cameras operated by Britain’s 428 local authorities, to establish the full extent of Britain’s local authority controlled surveillance.

Alex Deane, Director of Big Brother Watch, said:

"Local councils across Britain are creating enormous networks of CCTV surveillance 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.

"With crime on the increase, it is understandable that some people want more CCTV, but we would all feel safer with more police on the beat, there would be fewer crimes and those crimes that do occur would be solved faster."

To read the full report, which includes detailed information on every local authority, please click here.

Posted by on Dec 18, 2009 in CCTV | 42 Comments

42 Comments

  1. Jess The Dog
    18th December 2009

    I’d like to see a national map of every CCTV camera and arcs of vision.
    This can be done.
    FOI every local authority asking the easting and northing of every camera, in spreadsheet form. They will have this data!
    Stick a buffer around each camera (say 200m). This might overlap with private property in many cases.
    Display it on mapping at national/regional/local level.
    I can do the mapping easily, free of charge.

    Reply
  2. Tom Reeve
    18th December 2009

    Congratulations on using the power of the FOI Act to compile these numbers – it must have been a huge undertaking, but to what point? All you have demonstrated is that CCTV is growing in numbers, which we all knew anyway.
    I fundamentally disagree with the points that you go on to make, especially regarding the expensiveness and ineffectiveness of CCTV. You make sweeping claims about CCTV but it’s unclear to me whether you are referring to publicly or privately owned systems when you make statements like most CCTV is not monitored and CCTV images aren’t good enough to be used in court.
    You also make claims about the amount we spend on CCTV with very little evidence to back it up. Compared to the amount we spend on the police (£10bn a year), the amount spent on CCTV is minute. And the return on investment is significant.
    I think you are playing fast and loose with the numbers and drawing dubious conclusions from a research project that was, really, very limited in its scope and depth.
    You can find out more about my views on your report by reading my blog post at http://cctvimage.blogspot.com/ or http://www.cctvimage.com.

    Reply
  3. I Spy
    19th December 2009

    Very interesting site, glad you are making others aware of the situation in the UK. Some news from Fife with regards to CCTV usage which might be of use for future articles:
    Portable CCTV: http://www.fifefire.gov.uk/news/index.cfm?fuseaction=news.display&objectid=32B7430F-A57E-7A65-7D8C86C296DBB20F&ContactId=5D1F6802-1798-4A3F-949BFD1BF622F41C
    Fife CCTV: http://www.heraldscotland.com/800-criminals-captured-by-fife-cctv-in-a-record-year-1.898624
    The CCTV system in Fife is the largest single-fibre network in Europe, what makes this worse is the fact that Fife is made up of many small towns so the amount of cameras per person is in excessive portions. The cameras were being used as a showcase to the American police forces when they were first launched with many American delegates visiting the Glenrothes CCTV control room, however due to the size of the towns they are monitoring, there is little crime compared to City Centres such as Glasgow, so the cameras are mainly being used to target traffic offenders using Number Plate recognition software etc. The biggest scandal about the cameras is that recently a person in the Lochgelly area was stabbed to death several feet from one of the CCTV cameras and it was later discovered that the CCTV camera captured nothing other than 8 traffic offenders (driving without insurance, no MOT discs, etc.) which resulted in £250 generated from fines.

    Reply
  4. Eric Twinge
    31st December 2009

    As someone who responded to an FOI request for this study, and despite being strongly in favour of open government, I am very disappointed to see that there has been no effort to discern where the cameras concerned are (100% of them in our case) used to protect council buildings in the same way that homeowners use CCTV. This is clearly not the use that this study is focusing on in its laudable attempt to expose waste in public spending. Since our buildings are more than 200 metres away from others, this does not even threaten the liberty of passers-by.
    I agree with Tom Reeve in that this has been a PR campaign, rather than a serious discussion point. It is galling for someone who works hard to ensure these requests are answered as fully as possible (in the interests of fairness & openness), to see the results so mis-represented.

    Reply
  5. Alex Deane
    22nd January 2010

    An interesting extended analysis of our report and the issues it raises:
    http://mambotangoneversettle.blogspot.com/2010/01/one-nation-under-tv_22.html#links

    Reply
  6. supra shoes
    4th November 2010

    Work won’t kill but worry will.

    Reply
  7. supra skytop
    10th November 2010

    Genius only means hard-working all one’s life.

    Reply
  8. Air Jordans
    11th November 2010

    Insist on a campaign day.

    Reply
  9. nike air max
    11th November 2010

    oh so funny!

    Reply
  10. air yeezy
    13th November 2010

    One card, one sentence, one mood, one story!

    Reply
  11. buy taobao
    13th November 2010

    oh that’s nice!

    Reply
  12. nike air max
    13th November 2010

    Good suggestions as usual!

    Reply
  13. moncler jackets
    16th November 2010

    I did not discuss that particular issue

    Reply
  14. UGG Shoes
    16th November 2010

    I did not discuss that particular issue!!

    Reply
  15. nike air max
    16th November 2010

    *One of these days is none of these days!!!

    Reply
  16. Air Jordan
    16th November 2010

    &we are get together!

    Reply
  17. ClubPenguinCheats
    4th March 2011

    This might overlap with private property in many cases.

    Reply
  18. How to measure bra size
    12th April 2011

    An interesting extended analysis of our report and the issues it raises:

    Reply
  19. Kamagra Oral Jelly
    4th May 2011

    Skönt att vara besöka din blogg igen, har det varit månader för mig. Väl här artikeln som jag har väntat så länge. Jag behöver den här artikeln för att slutföra mitt uppdrag i kollegiet, och den har samma tema med din artikel. Tack, bra aktie.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  20. oil paintings
    14th May 2011

    Your sparkling wit is in fine form. Feel free to send Sven over when you’re done. Have a gorgeous weekend!
    http://www.discountoilpainting.com/subject/Abstract-Paintings.html
    http://www.discountoilpainting.com/subject/Angels-Paintings.html

    Reply
  21. Mobile Computing
    4th June 2011

    This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!

    Reply
  22. ベネトリン
    4th June 2011

    Hey, Great post ** Thank you for your post, I look for such article along time ..

    Reply
  23. yiwu
    7th June 2011

    Thank you for sharing to us.there are many person searching about that now they will find enough resources by your post.I would like to join your blog anyway so please continue sharing with us

    Reply
  24. yiwu
    7th June 2011

    This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!

    Reply
  25. el paso
    21st June 2011

    Wow, the big brother is so amazing!

    Reply
  26. free shipping Walkie Talkie
    21st June 2011

    The National Association of Attorneys General is asking cigarette maker RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. to stop a promotional gifts campaign for Camel cigarettes that the group says appeals to young people.

    Reply
  27. Generic Viagra
    4th July 2011

    Es bueno estar visitando su blog de nuevo, se ha pasado meses para mí. Bueno este artículo que he estado esperando durante tanto tiempo..

    Reply
  28. Kamagra Oral Jelly
    4th July 2011

    Skönt att vara besöka din blogg igen, har det varit månader för mig. Väl här artikeln som jag har väntat så länge. Jag behöver den här artikeln för att slutföra mitt uppdrag i kollegiet, och den har samma tema med din artikel. Tack, bra aktie

    Reply
  29. Rahul Mahtre
    13th July 2011

    good job

    Reply
  30. accommodation benalmadena
    20th September 2011

    This and speed camaras just a way to make money

    Reply
  31. CCTV Installer
    10th November 2011

    “1 council owned CCTV camera for every 1000 people”
    That is quite scary as the private sector cameras are probably a lot more than the registered CCTV cameras!

    Reply
  32. doudoune Moncler
    11th November 2011

    Which was the good item associated with data, WE liked looking at this.

    Reply
  33. Alexi Sachlikidis
    29th November 2011

    It’s kind of a double edged sword.  On one hand its good for security, have seen culprits identified numerous times using CCTV, but on the other hand there is the privacy issue.
    Worx Cordless Electric Lawn Mowers

    Reply
  34. ticfan
    21st February 2012

    Fife Councillor George Kay said today that Fife has just over 100 CCTV cameras and not the number that BB say they have. Who’s correct?
    See this http://www.fife.gov.uk/topics/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.display&p2sid=6C1CF778-C6DA-BAEC-85B682D3716E6CB4&themeid=2B892409-722D-4F61-B1CC-7DE81CC06A90

    Reply
  35. moscow models
    27th February 2012

    1984 warned us , but we let it happen and the corrupt governments and councils are taking our freedom and yet we still bury our heads and expect some one else to sort it out .

    Reply
  36. moscow escorts
    27th February 2012

    Such a true comments and points . the uk is becoming a scary big brother society its time the people did something to stop this .

    Reply
  37. Over
    4th April 2012

    This blog is so awesome. Keep up this good effort in your all blog post  and thanks for sharing
    http://overtime.com

    Reply
  38. Elwood Pearson
    3rd May 2012

    I simply had to thank you so much again. I do not know the things that I would’ve made to happen without those creative concepts contributed by you over such subject. This was a frightening problem in my view, nevertheless discovering a new specialised mode you treated that forced me to leap for delight. Now i’m happier for your service and then hope that you comprehend what a great job you happen to be undertaking instructing the mediocre ones thru your webblog. Most probably you haven’t met all of us.
    loft insulation best products

    Reply
  39. Mohammed
    20th August 2012

    My phone got stolen in front of a camera. How do I get to see it on cctv? The authorities would not look into the matter.

    Reply
  40. Grow Lights Toronto
    21st December 2013

    Great research…well done

    Reply
  41. CCTV Installation Specialist
    5th March 2015

    It is the increasing number of road cameras we should to worry about, not security cameras per se. They just started to install new cameras around M25, compatible with variable speed limits. They are the real money making machines.

    Reply
  42. accommodation benalmadena
    20th September 2011

    It’s getting so you have no privacy anymore,

    Reply

Leave a Reply