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CCTV In The Community – Another Perspective

Adrian Mudd   July 10, 2010

This week we have had many incidents in the news that have all made us think about security and surveillance. CCTV cameras have always been contentious and sometimes public opinion boils over.

Firstly we had the Russian Spying fiasco in the US, which culminated in the exchange between Russia and USA of each others captured spies. Then, more locally we have had the controversy in relation to the CCTV cameras being erected in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham.

Spies and Surveillance

I think that many cannot believe that in this day and age we have Russians living undercover for surveillance purposes in the USA. OK, it is understood that these were not really high profile spies, but still, even though their threat to national security may have been low, the ‘sending home’ exchange of each others spies sends a message to the other side that the vigilance of their own security services has not slipped. As regards the cameras in the Muslim community. I wonder if there would have been a big outcry if these cameras had been erected in a community with another predominantly religious group. It is my belief that it would probably not have been newsworthy.

Spy Cameras in the Community

Overall, there has always been a mainly subdued opposition to the introduction of Spy Cameras and CCTV in the community. Whilst I do believe that we have to be careful not to erect CCTV and spy cameras for the sake of it; most are put in place after much consultation. Most of us do not concern ourselves with CCTV cameras in our streets or in shops and businesses, because we are law-abiding citizens and their presence does not hold any fear for us. One final thought on this subject. If there had been far more CCTV cameras in place in Rothbury, then there is a distinct possibility that Police would have cornered Raoul Moat far earlier rather than the fiasco running on for nearly a week. I guess that hindsight is a wonderful thing.

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