A story in the South London Press this morning reveals that more than 85% of the CCTV cameras in the London borough of Southwark need replacing.
Southwark council has more than 400 “old and outdated” cameras in need of an overhaul at a cost of millions, according to a council report.
“It will not be affordable or cost-effective to fund the cost of repairing or replacing all CCTV equipment that is at the end of its natural life, it says.
“Many cameras are irreparable, unused, redundant or no longer monitored. The council is in breach of legislation if cameras that are not in use or fit for purpose remain in situ.”
The Lib Dem/Tory led council are apparently now considering scaling down their CCTV coverage to a “small number” of cameras in town centres. But the question must be asked – how many other local authorities are operating cameras that are "irreparable, unused, redundant or no longer monitored" and, most importantly, illegal?
In addition, the council report reveals that Southwark's total number of cameras is around 460 – a full 300 more than the council told us they had when we put together our report into local authority CCTV last year.
Sadly, we don't have a quote from a Southwark councillor proclaiming the benefits of their CCTV system, but a report, again in the South London Press, did spell out our concerns with council CCTV:
Big Brother Watch director Alex Deane said: “Councils 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 and the cameras are often turned off to save money.
“Further, the control rooms are rarely manned 24 hours a day.”
Sound familiar, Southwark?
By Dylan Sharpe