CCTV in toilets – again

In 2008, Toileta school in Plymouth was forced to remove CCTV from toilets after very significant protests from pupils and parents. In November last year, CCTV footage of children changing into sports kits in school changing rooms was seized by the police in Salford. Plainly, it was wrong to record such footage and you would think that such drastic action in these and other similar cases would be heeded by others. But, ironically given their educational mission, it seems that some schools just won't learn.

It emerged this weekend that, without consulting parents, a school in Chelmsley Wood has put CCTV in pupils' toilets. The cameras have been fitted in both boys’ and girls’ toilets – in addition to the 26-plus surveillance cameras already in place at the school.

If you try hard, I reckon you might be able to guess how people have reacted.

By Alex Deane

And it's not just kids' changing rooms, either – in Tooting, there's CCTV in adult
changing rooms
, too…

Posted by on Mar 8, 2010 in CCTV | 18 Comments


  1. Toby Stevens
    8th March 2010

    Hmm. As someone who had more than one enforced ‘hairwash’ in the school toilets, I can understand that they’re a potential focal point for bullying activity, particularly since they tend to be ‘no go’ zones for teaching staff fearful of false accusations of abuse.
    Putting *monitored* CCTV cameras in the toilets is an utterly unacceptable breach of privacy, but if we tolerate CCTV in schools (which is a whole separate debate in itself) would it not be reasonable to put *recorded but unmonitored* CCTV in the toilets? That is, cameras that are not viewable except where there has been an accusation of an incident that the school authorities need to follow up on?
    That doesn’t mean that we automatically install in every school toilet, but if the establishment is suffering violent incidents then maybe it’s one component of a broader solution.
    (Sheesh, can’t believe I’m arguing in favour of CCTV!)

  2. Gareth
    8th March 2010

    In both cases vandalism and bullying were *not* the stated reason for the installations. Health and safety in the latest one and no reason given in the other.
    From the recent case:
    “Steve Chase, chief executive of Grace Academy, said the cameras had been fitted due to health and safety concerns but had not been activated.
    He added: “There is protocol about who can view the footage which will only be viewed if there is an incident.”
    Who would know whether the protocols are adhered to?
    You can sort of understand why the schools didn’t consult parents – they’d probably never agree to it especially if there isn’t a history of bullying or vandalism. It was done anyway and in one case bypassed the head and the Governors as well.
    Given the timing of both cases perhaps schools were making sure their budgets were spent…

  3. HY
    8th March 2010

    This is insane. The UK has wholly lost the plot.

  4. Highlander
    8th March 2010

    Can I suggest we run a pilot project installing CCTV in people’s homes ‘just in case’ there are some health & safety concerns? Oh, I forgot – we’ve already done that with the Family Intervention Projects. Might as well just make them compulsory for the whole nation then. After all, if you’ve nothing to hide…

  5. NeverSurrender
    8th March 2010

    If they have their way Highlander that’s exactly what will happen. We have Big Brother all around us outside right now so why not inside too? Let’s all live like Winston Smith.
    Cameras in toilets! Absolutely appalling!

  6. FaustiesBlog
    9th March 2010

    I’ve been to Grace Academy and met Steve Chase. They have a very lax attitude to most things ‘moral’.
    Did you know that the schools is governed by UBS?
    One has to wonder.

  7. FaustiesBlog
    9th March 2010

    Correction – not UBS. But a rather unscrupulous ‘benefactor’.

  8. Philip
    24th May 2010

    If a school has a problem with violence and bullying then address the problem, not monitor it.
    You already know what you need to know and presumably the people involved.
    If a kid cant be beaten up in the toilets the you can bet somewhere else will be found, probably outside the school where the head can claim it as ‘outside jurisdiction’.

  9. Ideal CCTV
    12th October 2010

    I am managing director of a CCTV installation company… and a great believer in peoples privacy by the way (!).
    We would certainly never head the wish of any customer to install cameras in such areas, I have personally embarressed a few customers for even making such requests.
    My hope would be to return to such a society where we have no need of surveillance. Unfortuately I have to recognise a very different trend in this country.
    And no – I am not justifying the lack of sense going on everywhere – neither the abuse of CCTV everywhere. But sometimes areas would have to be patroled by paid staff = in person. Using technology to still patrol the same area, with less staff, at lower cost does make sense in general.
    Torben C.F. Vanselow

  10. cctv installers
    20th February 2011

    I completely agree with the above comments, this is an outrageous breach of privacy.

  11. cctv installers chelsea
    20th February 2011

    I don’t believe this is in anyone’s interest.

  12. cctv installer
    24th February 2011

    Security is the degree of protection against danger, damage, loss, and criminal activity. Security has to be compared to related concepts: safety, continuity, reliability. The key difference between security and reliability is that Security System must take into account the actions of people attempting to cause destruction.

  13. Health worker
    4th March 2011

    There is an increase in voyeurism for which people get paid as part of their daily work using security as an excuse eg CCTV and Airport full body scanners.How many people know that CCTV in store changing rooms may be watched by opposite sex workers? Perverts and paedophiles must think they have died and gone to heaven with all the opportunities now on offer. Male cleaners are also videoing/photographing women and in a recent case, girls under 10yrs of age, by putting mobile phones over and under cubicles in female toilets where they are now allocated cleaning duties (as if they were female), while the facilities are open. While privacy and dignity/decency is an area exempt from the Equality act where it is legitamate and proportionate to use appropriate sex staff to preserve user privacy, this is no longer happening because employers are not compelled to apply the privacy and decency exception which exists in law. How many women are aware that putting male workers in female changing rooms/toilets is only legal if women do not object and that they are entitled to ask cleaners to leave? warning signs which do not allow users chance to use a toilet without having to worry about men entering are reliant on implied consent, so if you use the toilet with a warning that there is a male worker on duty that does not give times, you are seen to have consented unless you ask a member of staff to prevent the man entering until you have finished.Complaints are only registered if put in writing to head office, otherwise they are recorded as communications! The law is effectively legaising sexual crimes eg voyeurism, and needs to change before more children are sexually assaulted and traumatised for life.

  14. CCTV Installation
    6th April 2011

    As most people agree, this is just one step to far. There is no need for such action and privacy of people is as important as well being.
    Quick Response CCTV Ltd

  15. CF Security Solutions
    5th July 2011

    These actions are a clear perversion of cctv technology and we need to take a public stand against it

  16. cctv installation
    9th December 2011

     you can’t fit CCTV in toilets it’s againts the code of practice

  17. security systems in chennai
    31st October 2013

    there should be a law to against this

  18. CCTV Installers
    18th December 2014

    I am father of 2 boys. I would go mad if this happens to my kids.
    There should be law against this.
    There must be some monitoring system.
    I do understand due to some reason we need this cameras to record footages for unforeseen circumstances. This should be allowed only if there is strict guidelines and user control on this equipments and must be punish if its broken