Our latest report highlights the cost to local authorities of their CCTV operations – £515m in the past four years.
There are now at least 51,600 CCTV cameras controlled by local authorities, with five councils now operating more than 1,000 cameras. In comparison, £515m would put an extra 4,121 police constables on the streets – the equivalent of Northumbria police’s entire force.
The picture varies massively across the country, as you can see from our interactive map below, the huge increase in surveillance has not been a co-ordinated and intelligence-led response to crime, but a haphazard and badly measured rush to spy on citizens. The variations in how much councils were able to tell us, and the wide range of different structures in place to manage and monitor cameras, highlights the need for a national review of CCTV and its regulation.
As part of the report, we are calling for five changes to improve the way CCTV is regulated and evaluated. We believe the Government should:
- Give the CCTV regulator the powers to enforce the code of practice
- Require any publicly funded CCTV installation to refer to crime statistics or demonstrate a significant risk of harm before being commenced
- Require public bodies to publish the instances where their CCTV cameras have been used in securing a conviction, and for what offences
- Require public bodies to publish in a standardised format the locations of their cameras (save for those used in direct protection of sites at risk of terrorism)
- Begin a consultation on regulating private CCTV cameras, both those operated by commercial companies and by private individuals
You can download the full report now.