We’ve got so much CCTV, guidance isn’t enough – now we have a regulator

Cctv dome Bonfires were lit, fatted calves were sacrificed and sparklers were sparkled up and down the land today at the news of the creation of the office of the CCTV Regulator.

I jest.  Of course, given where we are, if he actually acts as a brake on bad behaviour and encourages good behaviour then the regulator is a good thing – because CCTV is now so ubiquitous, so pervasive and so intrusive that we need someone to be responsible for usage and abusage.  But that rather begs the question, doesn't it..?  Should we have so much CCTV?

I'm not a technophobe absolutist – there is an important role for technology in law enforcement – but it’s a question of proportion: CCTV is now the single most heavily-funded crime prevention measure operating outside the criminal justice system, accounting for more than three quarters of spending on crime prevention by the Home Office.

We ought to learn from the fact that we’re the only country that’s gone so far down this path.  The Shetland Islands has more CCTV cameras than San Francisco Police Department.

By Alex Deane

Posted by on Dec 15, 2009 in CCTV | 5 Comments


  1. Neilefawcett
    15th December 2009

    I wouldn’t mind betting that Shetland Islands has less crime per head of population than San Francisco so I guess the supporters of CCTV could see that as evidence of how effective it is …doh!

  2. Alex Deane
    15th December 2009


  3. RM
    16th December 2009

    I think we should start a ‘photo your CCTV camera’ movement – look at a CCTV camera near you, smile & wave & take a photo of it – which will show on the CCTV itself. Apart from anything else, it’ll annoy the pants off our so-called ‘surveillance czars’

  4. Alex Deane
    16th December 2009

    RM – take a look at our sticker campaign, here – //bigbrotherwatch.typepad.com/home/campaigns.html/ – I think we’re on the same page!

  5. LeChiffre
    17th December 2009

    If you photograph a CCTV you’ll probably get arrested under anti-terrorism powers, swabbed for DNA, fingerprinted, victimised and if you’re lucky released without charge but with a permanent database record.
    Alex – re the sticker campaign: isn’t there a danger of being accused of criminal damage or do the stickers come easily off without leaving a trace of glue?