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Shock Haringey CCTV figures revealed

PUBLISHED: 09:19 24 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:39 07 September 2010

SHOCKING CCTV figures reveal that Haringey is one of the most spied on boroughs in the whole of London. The research, carried out by campaign group Big Brother Watch, reveals Haringey Council owns 857 CCTV cameras, or four for every 1,000 resi

Tan Parsons

SHOCKING CCTV figures reveal that Haringey is one of the most spied on boroughs in the whole of London.

The research, carried out by campaign group Big Brother Watch, reveals Haringey Council owns 857 CCTV cameras, or four for every 1,000 residents living in the borough. This puts it just behind Wandsworth, which has the most cameras in London at an average of 4.3 per 1,000 people.

The report accompanying the figures criticises CCTV as being expensive, ineffective and invasive, describing it as a "placebo" used by local authorities to appease neighbourhoods suffering from anti-social behaviour problems.

Liberal Democrat councillor for Muswell Hill Jonathan Bloch said: "CCTV provides no security to the residents whatsoever and it is invasive of people's privacy. I think it's intimidatory - a false impression of safety. Lots of cameras are not even monitored all the time.

"I would rather have policemen on the beat. A local police presence deployed based on intelligence would be much better than cameras."

He says Haringey desperately needs complete regeneration which must start by solving problems of unemployment and poverty, and that currently money is being wasted on CCTV schemes.

He added "Very occasionally in high profile murder cases CCTV might provide some evidence but frankly the cost to privacy and intimidatory effect is not justified.

"Hopefully, after the new council is elected in May we will examine the whole CCTV programme and tackle the underlying poverty which is the cause of most crime."

Haringey's 857 CCTV cameras cost £740,000 a year to run, including operating the systems and annual maintenance costs.

By comparison, Camden has 488 cameras - 2.5 per 1,000 people, Westminster has 310 - 1.7 per 1,000 people and Barnet has a paltry 127 - just 0.4 per thousand people.

Across the whole of London the total number of CCTV cameras controlled by councils is 8,122 which equals 1.2 cameras for every 1,000 residents.

In Britain, Eilean Siar in the Hebrides has the greatest concentration of cameras with 8.3 per 1,000 people - the Shetland Islands have more CCTV cameras than the San Francisco Police Department.

Alex Deane, director of Big Brother Watch, said: "Local councils across Britain are creating enormous networks of CCTV surveillance at great expense, but the evidence for the ability of CCTV to deter or solve crimes is sketchy at best.

"The quality of footage is frequently too poor to be used in courts, the cameras are often turned off to save money and control rooms are rarely manned 24 hours a day.

"With crime on the increase, it is understandable that some people want more CCTV, but we would all feel safer with more police on the beat, there would be fewer crimes and those crimes that do occur would be solved faster."

According to the report, In 2008 Det Ch Insp Mick Neville, the head of the Met's Visual Images, Identifications and Detections Office, described the system as an "utter fiasco".

In August, an internal report written by Mr Neville revealed that for every 1,000 cameras in London, less than one crime is solved per year.

Haringey Council's enforcement boss Cllr Nilgun Canver defended the use of CCTV cameras. He said: "Our CCTV cameras have been installed in response to residents' requests.

"CCTV can be very helpful retrospectively for evidence gathering or for alerting police to incidents taking place live on camera, such as vandalism or crowd trouble. The cameras are highly valuable and are appreciated by our residents.


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