Big Brother Watch Report – The Cost of CCTV: £314 million

Cctv1 Big Brother Watch has today released a new report exposing the shocking cost of CCTV to local councils.

Of the 336 local councils who responded to a Freedom of Information request from Big Brother Watch, a total of £314,835,170.39 was spent on installing and operating CCTV cameras during the 2007 to 2010 period.

A full breakdown by spending by local government authority can be found by clicking here.

Commenting on the staggering £314 million cost of CCTV, Big Brother Watch Director Alex Deane said:

“This is a shocking figure.  Public money is being wasted on snooping surveillance that does next to nothing to prevent or solve crime.  We are being watched more than ever before, and we’re being ripped off into the bargain.  British taxpayers will be scandalised to see their money being thrown away like this in the current economic climate.”

Click here to follow the report's ongoing press coverage.

The authorities that spent the most on CCTV during the 2007 to 2010 period are:

  1. Birmingham (£10,476,874.00)
  2. Sandwell (£5,355,744.00)
  3. Leeds (£3,839,675.00)
  4. City of Edinburgh (£3,600,560.00)
  5. Hounslow (£3,573,186.45)
  6. Lambeth (£3,431,301.00)
  7. Manchester (£3,347,310.00)
  8. Enfield (£3,141,295.00)
  9. Barnet (£3,119,020.00)
  10. Barking and Dagenham (£3,090,000.00)

Nationally, the total cost of council provision of CCTV can be compared to the following positions in other public services:


 Average starting

 Total number funded
 for cost of CCTV










 Police constable






Furthermore, the UK spends more per head on CCTV coverage than 38 countries do on defence and total spending amounts to more than the entire annual budgets of eight independent nations.
Posted by on Nov 30, 2010 in CCTV | 7 Comments


  1. Roger Cornwell
    30th November 2010

    Did you ask Durham County Council? I couldn’t find them listed either in the results table or the list of councils that did not respond. They certainly have CCTV cameras.

  2. Chris
    30th November 2010

    Converting the cost into nurses etc. is a good idea, but the arithmetic is flawed.
    1. A nurse costs quite a bit more to employ than her salary. Allow perhaps 50% for overheads.
    2. The £314m is over a 3-year period, which is £104m per year.
    This gives us 3,370 nurses, which isn’t quite the same as 15,202.
    If you have the total expenditure for each council in the country to hand, then you could estimate a higher starting point than £314m.
    Just my thoughts.

  3. John Hills
    1st December 2010

    lets not look at £££`s alone its just like stats anyone can make them support their argument. The BIG ISSUES are about regulation,specification, installation, maintainance and audit. For many years if I have aked to see an operational requirements document for CCTV, or any security installations or planned systems for that matter. The normal answer is :-
    “A what?”
    “Never heard of it”
    “Never seen one”,
    “We may have one somewhere”
    I have come across control rooms where the staff are not licensed, systems non complient or fail D&P act and codes of Practise. But the data Commissioners Office does not want to know. So who else is going to police it?

  4. Ian
    1st December 2010

    Why go to the local authorities for incomplete costs when the national figure would clearly be interesting and could then be broken down by region, the government should know what the country has spent or spends annually in that area.
    In an international context if the UN recording of policing expenditure by country is an appropriate measure, why are public area CCTV expenses not recorded in a similar way for the same reasons. After all they were/are nearly all justified by a policing of crime and anti-social behaviour role.

  5. BBW Team
    3rd December 2010

    Durham County Council was not included in this report as, at the time the research was carried out, it had only very shortly been in existence. DCC was formed as an amalgamation of county council with the former Chester-le-Street, Durham City, Derwentside, Easington, Sedgefield, Teesdale and Wear Valley authorities.

  6. Roger Cornwell
    3rd December 2010

    @BBW — The research included Northumberland which became a unitary authority by merging with its constituent District Councils on the same day as Durham – 1 April 2009. If Northumberland can give you the figures, why not my home county, Durham?

  7. northface
    4th December 2010

    North Face is one of well known outdoor sports brands. North Face Jackets are made of good quality water proof materials. Various North Face Men’s Jackets are on sale on our site now.//