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Operation Safe Homes Initiative

Adrian Mudd   June 9, 2008

Operation Safe Homes was an initiative launched by the police in some areas of the UK. The scheme utilises spy cameras to reduce burglary by fixing the camera into potential victim’s homes. Operation Safe Homes may have had some success in reducing crime and burglary and can be an effective tool when it comes to deterring and catching criminals. But the police and the Home Office also want to upgrade Britain’s CCTV network – some civil liberty groups see this as the spread of the sinister spy cam rather than positive steps in increasing national security.

Technology that reduces Crime

It seems the proliferation of spy cams in our everyday life is lurching Britain into a surveillance society. The network of spy cams and counter surveillance CCTV will be updated so that images are good enough for police investigations.

Networks of CCTV

Although the idea of using this tech to reduce crime is appealing, Britain has the largest number of spy cameras and CCTV networks in the world – it’s thought that there are some five million in public and private hands. That means one for every 12 people in the UK. It’s clear that the spy equipment trade is booming and the desire for these new gadgets are only increasing as we become more and more watched. Some civil liberty watchdogs believe the proliferation of this technology is because the extensive CCTV networks are creating a climate of suspicion.

The Reign of the Spy

Spying has advanced over recent years to become more technologically advanced – you can buy a tiny cam now that is barely visible to the naked eye. But MPs are so concerned about what the impact of having so many in the country might be – whether they are being used officially or not. The home affairs select committee are now inquiring into ‘Big Brother Britain’.

Private Homes

But over in America, police chiefs are feeling inspired by the use of spy cams for security. A police chief in Houston wants surveillance cameras to be installed in private homes. Surveillance cameras already festoon the streets, shopping malls and airports in the States and some are concerned that their use in private homes is an Orwellian step too far. But the Houston police chief believes they could be the answer the force is looking for to combat crime amid a shortage of officers.