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CCTV image of a pickpocket  (Source: Evening Standard)
The use of CCTVs continues to be a hot political debate in the U.K.

The city of London has more than 10,000 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras deployed around the city, but the use of the controversial technology does not help solve crime, according to several local politicians.

All cameras installed in London cost taxpayers an estimated £200 million -- approximately $400M USD -- with politicians arguing the city has to re-evaluate the way they are used.  According to research provided by the British Liberal Democrats political party, the city districts with the most CCTV cameras also have the worst rates of solved crimes.

"Our figures show that there is no link between a high number of CCTV cameras and a better crime clear-up rate," said Dee Doocey, Liberal Democrats spokesperson.  "Boroughs with thousands of CCTV cameras are no better at doing so than those which have a few dozen."

Numbers provided by Doocey indicate only one in five crimes are solved in all London boroughs.

London's Scotland Yard is implementing several new procedures to try to improve the effectiveness of the 10,000 CCTVs in place in all 32 London boroughs.  

"Although CCTV has its place, it is not the only solution in preventing or detecting crime."

The United Kingdom currently leads the rest of Europe in number of CCTVs in use, with more than one million already in use.  The technology has drawn a lot of criticism from some politicians and privacy advocates in the U.K.

A quick Google News search for "CCTV" will indicate a number of British news stories that show how CCTV evidence is being used in criminal cases against suspects.  For example, CCTV several school children were caught brandishing an AK-47 on a train station platform.  The CCTV cameras also helped police identify London tube-train bombing suspects after the July 7, 2005 attack.

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RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By Grast on 9/24/2007 1:55:26 PM , Rating: 2

You are forgetting one important portion of the Bill of Rights. The 4th Amendment: Protection from unreasonable search and seizure. I believe that placing cameras in the public area is a violation of my right to privacy. The reason is simple. The government does not have a right to monitor, track, or otherwise impune on my freedoms without probable cause and a warrant from a judge. The act of installing a camera in a public space is an illegal search. The govenment is in reality collecting data (search) just incase a crime is committed. That is an illegal search. Whether we like it or not. Citizens have the right to break the law. We are all innocent until proven guilty. The government does not have my permission to film me or more importantly spend my tax dollars on a system which servers no purpose but track its own citizens.

The only reason traffic cameras have passed constitutionality is because it has been demeed that driving a car is a privledge and that your rights in regards to privacy do not apply while driving a vehicle. When you drive a car, you are giving away a lot of your natural rights as an American.

Regardless, when a government starts monitoring its citizens it is the first step in losing all of your rights.


By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2007 2:13:37 PM , Rating: 2
> "The act of installing a camera in a public space is an illegal search"

How is this any different than a policeman watching you in that same public space? And what exactly is being searched? The Supreme Court has long ruled that the Fourth Amendment is applicable only when a person's expectation of privacy is being violated. A search of something hidden in your clothes is a violation...recording whats plainly visible to the public eye, however, is not.

> "We are all innocent until proven guilty"

Which is why any person seen committing a crime on these cameras would still have the right to a trial by jury.

> "when a government starts monitoring its citizens it is the first step in losing all of your rights."

That's an excellent example of the "slippery slope" logical fallacy, but it doesn't really further the debate.

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