back to article Info chief slaps Met on CCTV in pubs

The Met Police got a short sharp rap over the knuckles yesterday, as the Office of the Information Commissioner questioned what looks very much like a blanket policy to force CCTV onto public houses in certain parts of London. The story begins with a letter to the Guardian last week, from Nick Gibson. He is currently …


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  1. M
    Black Helicopters

    Fucking Hell

    This really scares the shit out of me. How can we stop this creep of powers?

    How about a CCTV icon?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Doesn't this make all bar tenders criminals

    Judging from the story the other day:

    Every time someone from the Police or Armed forces entered this hostelry the pub owner would be gathering information likely to be useful to terrorists. I.E. Where the rozzers like to relax.

    Just a thought.

  3. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Raise a pint to the police state

    Funny how the police want to stop their members being photographed and videoed but when it comes to us they want carte blanche powers as per the Police Can Do What They Bloody Well Like Act 2009.

  4. Tony

    Who watches the watchers?

    So let me get this straight - It is now not permissable to film the police but it is mandatory that normal citizens are filmed everywhere they go.

    Now THAT is arse-backwards.

    The police are public servants. They are supposed to act purely in the interests of the British people and are funded by our taxes, but we arent allowed to film them at protests and suchlike to ensure that they are doing what they are supposed to. However they are demanding that we are recorded continuously all the time in case we do something we shouldn't. I really have had enough of this shit.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    CCTV in every pub, then CCTV directional microphones just to make sure no darkies talk about things they arn't supposed to.

    Doesn't suprise me in the slightest, the bootboys want to see everything all the time, not so much so they can make anyone safer but just so they can prove a point when they have a whim.

  6. Paul

    from a Drapers drinker

    Until it closed for renovations, I drank and ate regularly in the Drapers (won't digress into whether it should have an apostrophe). A more north-Londoney gastropub you couldn't wish to find. Rather spotless, quietly camp, set well off Liverpool Road in a quiet and rather posh N1 square, it's the last place you would ever expect trouble, and neither could I see it ever being a haven for drug dealing. So I can't see any public-interest justification for knowing who goes in and out. Just so readers know, in case they were wondering, this is nowhere near a football ground or even a main street. It's the precise opposite of the sort of pub you might expect to be a 'trouble' pub - as you might reasonably wonder if you read this article and didn't know the area.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best bit in the Guardian article

    'Gibson spoke to his MP, Emily Thornberry, whose offices are on the same street. But she said the right of residents not to become victims of crime overrode his concerns. "My priority is the safety of local residents and if a camera at the pub helps, then I think it should be supported."'

    From Wikipedia: 'Thornberry was educated at the University of Kent at Canterbury where she studied law, and practised as a barrister specialising in human rights from 1985 to 2005'

    On the evidence so far, I don't think she was very good at being a human rights lawyer.

    The good news is that the android MP for Islington South and Finsbury is sitting on a majority of only 484.

  8. dervheid


    So they only appear interested in getting, what is to all intents and purposes, a 'mug-shot' of everyone entering the premises. No apparent interest, it would seem, in any CCTV of the interior of the pub, which would show any 'crime' being committed.

    As for the mealy-mouthed, toeing-the-party-line response from his MP!

    Check out her voting record at;

    What more can you add there?

    Is that the faint sound of Jack-Boots I can hear?

    Welcome to NuLabouria. "Papers, Citizen!"

  9. Francois

    but does it?

    "We recognise that CCTV plays an important role in the prevention and detection of crime, and can help to reduce crime in areas of high population density, such as city boroughs"

    Everybody talking about CCTV always put that disclaimer in, before talking about surveillance society... But, does it?

    I remember seeing a lot of studies that seem to be saying the opposite. So why always say "it is useful but take care..." rather than "it is very likely to be useless, hence..."?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    "and make those images available to police upon request"

    Obviously Never heard of Data Protection Laws..

    Oh this is the same people who didn't understand Phorm. I see..

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Big Brother

    Will see you now.

  12. Frank Bough
    Black Helicopters

    The Inner Party...

    ...absolutely requires that members of the Outer Party keep tabs on the Proles. What's the problem with photographing them as they sip their Victory gin and eat their black bread?

  13. Andy Miller

    That's Illegal !

    If you photograph everyone coming into a pub then, sooner or later, you are going to photograph a policeman. It's illegal to photograph policeman, in case terrorists learn what Policemen look like. Looks like we are going to have to ban Policemen from any area where there is CCTV, in case they are photographed.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    CCTV cameras don't work

    If you compare the number of cameras to the increase in the number of arrests and convictions, they have contributed probably nothing of significance to the statistics. Sure, on those Booze Britain police shows, you probably see the sum total of all incidents where the rozzers catch someone seen on CCTV.

    Let's face it - July 7th 2007.....CCTV cameras allowed us to see what some dead terrorists looked like. No prevention, just contribution to history.

    Is it worth it to blanket the place with more of the things? And add that the police can have the feed without a warrant, it seems?

    We need a new home secretary. That just needs an election.

  15. Pete James


    The Met are lying, conniving control freaks who believe they have a divine right to instruct people who to go about their legitimate affairs. They're supported by a Government that blatently disregards any notion for the right of indivudal freedom or liberty. They're all mad, and I have nothing but contempt for them.

    Sadly the Met in it's current form, along with HM Government, remain in a position of power as the citizen is either ignorant, uncaring or confused about their disgraceful behaviour to bring about a change for the better.

  16. dave lawless

    Install it then oops it broke

    or someone sprayed paint on it and we didn't notice

  17. Andy Enderby
    Thumb Down

    welcome to....(drum roll please maestro)

    Wacki Jaqui's Panopticon O' Fun..... Delightful that the met have awarded themselves these powers and comical the weasel way they try to back away from the idea whilst still fronting up in a pugnacious fashion.

    Wonderful..... really

  18. Anthony Mark

    Is this new?

    I have friends who run a nightclub and it's a condition of their licence that no-one is allowed to wear hooded tops or peaked caps inside the building in order to ensure that the police can get good face shots on CCTV.

  19. Anonymous Coward


    This is bloody absurd, first they take away the priviledge to smoke in pubs (don't start that argument again!) which has greatly reduced the income of many pubs, now they want mugshots of all the people who go to them.

    Why not just close pubs down altogether, after all the police don't like it when the general public congregrate into groups to have fun do they? as demonstrated by the introduction of The Criminal Justice Bill...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Islington not the only ones...

    We work for bars and clubs in Westminster and in Camden.

    And the "must have CCTV or you aren't having a licence" policy is the same.

    One of them (Camden I think) also requires the CCTV recordings to be kept for at least 30 days.

    Whether this is a legal requirement or not I couldn't tell you - but in many areas (Westminster esp.) it is Police policy to oppose all licence applications / variations if they deem the area a "high pressure zone" - irrespective of the merits / specifics of the application.

    1 client told the conversation went like this:

    Licence Holder: We'd like to get a variation on our licence

    Police: We object

    LH: ok - what's the objection?

    P: It's policy to object

    LH: Even if there's nothing to specifically object about?

    P: It's policy to object


    Anyway.. this sort of attitude means that all venue owners will put in the CCTV irrespective of whether it's a legal requirement or not, because not doing so is likely to "displease" the licensing committee and losing / not getting a license variation could be a very expensive problem...

    Although I wouldn't worry about the CCTV in pubs etc anyway.

    The quality is usually rubbish, half the cameras don't work half the time, and unless it's a really serious assault (or worse), the police won't gather / watch hours of CCTV

    (I've offered to courier them the HDD from the recorder so they can get the footage themselves in the past and the answer was "no thanks we don't have the ability to do that".)

    if it's anything not life threatening - then the process is so slow, that a venue won't even get a request for the CCTV for several weeks (by which time it might well have been overwritten)

  21. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Mind boggling...

    I note from that article in the Guardian that the landlord raised this issue with Emily Thornberry, the local Labour MP and was told, astonishingly, that the right of residents not to become victims of crime overrode his concerns.

    Presumably the right of residents to be presumed innocent is also similarly over-ridden!

    She also said there was a problem with antisocial behaviour in the area and that the majority of residents were in favour of more CCTV cameras.

    I wonder if these are the same people who keep coming up to Wacky Jacqui in the street demanding ID cards?

  22. Mike Crawshaw
    Black Helicopters

    Yet another reason

    To stay in.

    Smoking ban - so you have to freeze yer crackers off outside

    Shite music in most venues

    Crowded by pissed up idiots who think that a curly wig is the height of wit.

    Spending a sizeable portion of the evening waiting to get drinks / have a piss

    Incredibly expensive (£2.50 a shot for "premium" spirits = £75 a bottle FFS!!!)

    And now the "benefit" of being on

    And people wonder why I'd rather spend my evenings playing poker with a few good buddies, with a stogie in mouth, bottle of Jack Daniels to hand, with some music we like playing in the background.

    (or am I getting old? I dunno.)

  23. Andrew Macdonald

    Hurrah for the ICO

    Hurrah for the ICO. Saw this in the Grauniad last week and wept. And worse, Nick Gibson's MP, Emily Thornberry (Lab), seemed to think plod's scheme was a splendid idea because of "anti social behaviour in the area." Surely the answer to anti social behaviour is not to spend billions on ID cards we neither need nor want, useless and intrusive databases and CCTV (and worse again, get private citizens to pay for and install the CCTV for you), but to spend a tiny fraction of the money on putting more plod on the streets so they can give the little scrotes a good clip round the ear and send them home. Worked when I were a lad, but probably not so well today when all the little scrotes seem to be armed and dangerous. I'm not going to pursue this one.

  24. Ted Treen
    Black Helicopters

    Don't need genealogy...

    Obviously the Met emplos the bastard love child of Whacky Jacqui & Lord Mandelson......

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Mine's the one with

    the extra large hood and balaclava in the pocket...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    There is law laid out, and all this arbitrary subjective interpretation is worse than racism.

    Should use this depression to reduce the size of the police force, and only employ those who really care about up holding ethical law.

  27. Mike Flugennock

    Why am I suddenly reminded...

    ...of an old Monty Python sketch about a guy building a boat in his basement?

    I mentioned this sketch to a British friend of mine once, and he filled me in on something closely related that was -- at least at the time -- popular in Britain, which was for guys to trick out their basements to resemble a pub, complete with a wet bar, so they could invite their friends over to watch a football game and play the part of the bartender, serving up the beer for his buddies. (We do this 'basement bar' thing to an extent in the States, but it's apparently not quite as involved as in Britain)

    So, now I'm wondering... because of this, might there soon be an upswing in the popularity of these guys' houses with the "fake" pubs built into the basements -- in the manner of 1920s American "speakeasies" -- as folks would be free to visit these "underground pubs" without having to surrender a fingerprint and a face shot at the door?

  28. Paul

    from a regular...

    Before it closed for the refit, I was a regular drinker/eater in The Drapers (I'll leave the question of an apostrophe out of this). It's a typical n. London gastropub, rather immaculate, slightly camp and in a quiet and very posh N1 square well behind Liverpool Road or Upper Street, and about a mile away from any of the footy pubs around Arsenal. You know the kind of place - couples on a Sunday with the papers spread out on large wooden tables and sofas, and dinner on the way. I can't imagine it being a place you could deal drugs, either. So hardly the kind of 'trouble' pub where you might expect there to be some preventative/detection value in trialing CCTV, in case you were wondering. The antithesis of it, in fact.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical of the police

    The police pretty much said they can't do anything for our apartment block 'cos we didn't have CCTV, which everyone agreed to have installed. I looked like a loon when I tried to lay out the reasons against it. I was asking questions like would that money be better spent elsewhere, pointing out CCTV doesn't stop crime, but merely records a blurry image of it as it happens. Nevertheless, I am now recorded as I walk around the apartment complex, we haven't had to use the CCTV for six months, and we have a bunch of idiot residents who think the CCTV is preventing crime.

    Back on topic: the police want it all on a plate. They don't care about engaging with a community, talking to people etc (what I would consider proper policing). They want to see you on CCTV, compare your DNA and pack you off to court where they'll perjure themselves silly to get a conviction.

  30. Jonathan Schofield

    Hope the wife can't see it!

    This is an appalling intrusion, and yet another example of our descent to a police state where we are encouraged to sneak on each other.

    I fear it is nearly too late to prevent this.....

  31. Alan

    We Are Being Watched -- Constantly

    Walk into most shops -- you are on camera, walk down the street you are on camera, walk into a bank you are certainly on camera, in your workplace you are likely to be on camera -- why should pubs be any different ?

    Welcome to the surveillance society!

  32. Evil Auditor Silver badge


    ...proved to be absolutely inefficient in crime prevention and only a negligible number of crimes can be solved basen on CCTV footage. However, having such a shitload of CCTVs installed already who really cares about an additional one?

    But I shouldn't get all excited over this stark nonsense now because it's pub o'clock! And by that I mean a pub without nasty surveillence equipement.


  33. David Hicks
    Black Helicopters

    F*ck off

    No really.

    F*ck off.

    This is just the next wave of "you're all dangerous criminals and need to be watched constantly". Enough now. The pub is a sanctuary, we are not all violent scumbags and we're not all comfortable with being recorded wherever we go.

    You can't even blame this on terrorism as the terrorist threat is (currently) linked to extremists of a non-drinking faith.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Yet another statement of the Bleedin' Obvious

    "This sentiment was echoed by Chris Huhne, Lib Dems Spokeman for the Bleedin' Obvious, who added: "The impression is that CCTV is a panacea for preventing crime but the evidence for this is far from conclusive."

    Actually Chris it's kinda been proved that CCTV does dick for the crime figures.

    I mean, come on, is anyone even remotely suprised? Anyone? Anyone at all? Yet another reason for avoiding London. Shame really, there's a couple of decent pubs there.

    Mine's the one with the Groucho Marx disguise in the pocket.

  35. Philip
    Thumb Down

    Move along...

    Nothing to see here - the Police will always pursue more power regardless of whether or not it's really justified - it's just the way they are.

    More worringly though, this Government will always pursue more statutory authority at all costs.

    Guess who's pulling the strings here?

  36. Anonymous Coward

    CCTV madness

    There will come a time where one half of Britain is watching the other half on CCTV.

  37. Tony

    Not big brother

    No - just a load of little brothers.

  38. Danny

    The Revolution Starts at Closing Time

    This is maybe linked to the Times story saying that drinkers will have their benefits cut unless they 'fess up to their evil ways.

    "New powers will allow for individuals who apply for jobseeker’s allowance to be forced to take compulsory alcohol tests if officials do not believe what they say about their drinking habits. Those who refuse to cooperate could be deprived of the benefit for six months. Officials will also be able to check the truth of applicants’ answers through other agencies, such as the police."

  39. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    CCTV - Prevention or Solution?

    Dear oh dear, MPS. But then, if the police had said we're only going to support the issue of a licence provided that the bar employ trained door staff would there be an issue? But our evil governmental overloads couldn't misuse door staff to invade our privacy and keep a record of... what pub we go to.

    Scepticism is healthy, we should wonder why the authorities want information and what they'll do with it. But do people really think there's some Colonel Saunders lookalike in a room full of monitors WATCHING all the various cameras around the place? Any plod will tell you that AFTER an incident CCTV is used to identify those responsible more accurately than "a guy... in a shirt... who i wouldn't recognise if i saw again"

    Maybe we should have some signs that say "CCTV is NOT operating in this area. If you are beaten up or mugged there is probably no point reporting it to the police unless you know your attacker"

    Anon, because "they" might be watching

  40. Blueplanet

    Privacy is vital

    This is a great example of how we could be trapped by surveillance before we even know it's happening. The information commissioner is failing miserably at his job, I get the distinct impression even he doesn't know what's going on. Like CCTV, ID cards and new biometric passports they have us over a barrel, with absolutely no discussion as to how, why and when they're implemented. I for one have just about had enough and because I had no say in the direction my govt, has gone in my only choice will end up being civil disobedience.

    We have to stop this now, before it is too late.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Think of the children

    Oh never mind...they won't be going in for a drink anyway....

  42. Tim J
    Thumb Up

    Good news

    The sooner we get national ID cards, have an ID chip injected under the skin, have all our mobile phones tracked by the police and linked to the ID register, similar arrangements for our vehicles, and possibly start wearing tracking tags as used by prisoners on early release, the better - we can stop having these stupid arguments about 'big brother', 'police state' and 'civil liberties', and get on with life, whilst accepting the realities of the technological revolution - we're all on the grid now, after all.

    I for one am totally prepared to do all of this on the condition that we get Lara Lewington doing a weather forecast naked each evening on television.

    Pint anyone?

  43. Anonymous Coward

    30 years too late !

    My brothers and I used to "frequent" the Drapers on a regular basis back in the mid-70's - when it was a well-run North London drinkers pub with a pool table - that was probably the best time to have CCTV recordings of the comings and gpoings of the clientele - some very dodgy characters indeed. Then it closed down, reopened, got converted into a gastro-pub, won the best gastro-pub in London award in 2002 (?) and lost most (if not all) of it's more colourful clientele. C'est la vie !

  44. Catkins


    Just to back up Paul's earlier comment about the Drapers being the antithesis of a problem pub. Only the prices were criminal (which may explain the previous owners' insolvency). It's a fine Victorian conversion in a street fully of million pound houses. Barnsbury is one of the nicest areas in the borough.

    As a former resident of the area (Meg 'ID cards' Hillier was my councillor!) I've raised civil liberties issues with the MP Emily Thornberry. She's pro-ID cards and pro the retention of innocent people's DNA. Astonishingly until the 2005 election she was a human rights barrister in Michael Mansfield's chambers.

  45. Dave

    Bar Towels

    Just have a pile of towels or other suitable coverings, so that those entering can wear one over their heads as they walk past the camera. I'm sure that most people would play ball with such a scheme... It would also allow the police and armed forces to go for a drink, because they could also use them to avoid being photographed.

  46. Darling Petunia


    When shall we expect the people of Britain to rise-up and recover their freedom?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we extend this to Ripon?

    You can't take photos of members of Her Maj's forces.

    So any pub with CCTV would have to be a drunken squaddie free zone.

  48. Tony

    @ Bar Towels

    'Just have a pile of towels or other suitable coverings, so that those entering can wear one over their heads as they walk past the camera'

    Surely wearing a towel on your head is enough to get you black bagged and shipped off to the yanks for a friendly torture session? No thanks.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Everyday I have to remind myself....

    That "1984" and "V for Vendetta" are (currently) fiction.......

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    for joining a group going around spray painting every cctv camera i see (with a mask on of course)

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @CCTV - Prevention or Solution?

    ... or oppressive system of surveillance that is neither prevention nor solution.

    "Dear oh dear, MPS. But then, if the police had said we're only going to support the issue of a licence provided that the bar employ trained door staff would there be an issue?"

    Well yes I would, since when do I want the rozzers dictating any aspect of my life? Since when did I become a criminal whose drinking habits need to be recorded? Or who needs specially trained staff to control me? If this was a camera outside a police station the rozzers would be attempting to lock the owner up for 10 years for filming them because it might be useful to a terrorist. Hypocrisy is rife here.

    The Rozzers should not be dictating what laws and rules they want, nobody elected them, they don't answer to the public and such things belong in police states.

  52. Chris
    Black Helicopters

    More suggestions

    I think dave lawless and Dave (Bar Towels) are on the right track. Is there anything that says the camera has to actually be plugged in to anything? What about the recorder? Does it have to have tapes in it?

    Maybe the camera is on a dedicated circuit and the breaker "accidentally" got tripped, and no one noticed for a few months (or years).

    Is the camera installed in an unlighted foyer?

    Say there's a pile of free advertising papers next to the door that everyone gets a hankering to read very carefully (right in front of his face) as he enters the establishment.

    Perhaps the shutter is out of adjustment and it snaps its photo a half-second AFTER the person has passed.

    Come on folks! Get creative here. Maybe a playmobil re-enactment would get the creative juices flowing...

    No anonymous posting for me, I don't think the "long arm of the law" is long enough to reach across the Atlantic, but it sure looks like the black helicopters are circling.

  53. Magani

    Remind me...

    ... where George Orwell's grave is so I can see where he wrote "I told you so" on his tombstone.

    ... where the great tradition of 'innocent until proven guilty' in Her Maj's Sceptred Isles has gone.

    ... where personal freedom and its bedfellow, personal responsibility, have gone.

    ... to stop visiting the land of my forebears. It's getting even more depressing every year. Thank goodness that due to the economic climate, I'll be staying in the Greater Antipodes this year.

    ... to cut the news feeds from the UK to our benighted colony's leaders as all these ideas give the local pollies' limited imagination far too much food for thought.

    ... that we're all dooooomed, I tell you.

  54. Danny


    Austrian activists took control of a CCTV to test how best to blind them, recommended laser pens and balloons.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great idea

    Last year there was an argument followed by shooting at a taxi office 200 yards or so from my house. A perfectly innocent guy standing outside the local pub was hit in the head and killed. The pub is near a major junction in a part of London not known for being peaceable. The area is knee deep in CCTV, and I think the pub and taxi office have their own outside. Guess what? In spite of all the "valuable evidence" that must have been gathered by these modern technological wonders, no one's been caught or - to my knowledge - questioned.

    Perhaps the whole crime solving thing is just a diversion, and the real purpose is to provide ITV with an endless supply of cheap programming in which a stern-voiced presenter makes snide remarks about criminals and makes our boys in blue shine - endlessly helped by CCTV. Where these programmes always come a little unstuck is the muttered bit at the end of 90% of cases where it turns out the "criminal" wasn't charged or got off with a caution.

    If the police want public support, they should start solving real crimes and making charges stick, rather than going for CCTV driven easy wins (litter dropping etc etc) and criminalising photographers.

  56. Dave

    Big shopkeeper is watching

    You know the VAST majority of CCTV cameras aren't run by "the authorities" but are privately bought and run by businesses, shops mostly. Your local westfield shopping centre has more camera than your local council. And that doesn't count the cameras installed in each shop by the tenants. And don't even start me on petrol stations, with their numberplate readers!

    Boycott these shops who have no right to treat YOU like a criminal who is going to steal things?

    Mr Ozimek - I'd be genuinely interested in seeing some statistics on the % of CCTV that is police run, since it seems to be your specialist subject - fancy it?

    "The Rozzers should not be dictating what laws and rules they want, nobody elected them, they don't answer to the public"

    I'll refrain from just calling you stupid for that argument and just say you're just ignorant of both the law and local government. Do a bit of googling and take a look at licensing regulations and police authorities. If you don't agree with how the police are run in your area what are you constructively doing about it?

  57. David Robinson


    have been over 3600 laws and over 17000 new regulations installed by the Labour regime in the last 12 years. The government has increased its employment of watchers and enforcers by over 700,000,all well paid with enviable pensions. The government of East Germany went broke through their spying on their people and all of the communist countries were poorer and less advanced than the west. You wonder where all our money went? Heres part of the answer.


  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re human rights barrister Emily Thornberry.

    This human rights schtick is just a career move, cf Harperson and the ex health woman who's now in the trough at BT

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Surely wearing a towel on your head is enough to get you black bagged and shipped off to the yanks for a friendly torture session? No thanks.

    Sorry Tony , your gov is going have to this on their own. we don't torture innocent people. Now if the person steals from American corp, we demand his ass be sent over right away so can tazer him in the genital as a warning to others . It will one can of peanut butter he wont ever forget.

  60. Catkins

    Michael Nyman

    Nothing like having a famous local resident weighing in against CCTV.

    Somehow I can't see Michael Nyman as the sort of person who visits spit n sawdust pubs with serious crime problems. Good on yer Mike.

  61. Craig Cockburn

    Big Brother

    I live in the UK and work in Ireland. The number of CCTVs in one street in the UK is probably more than all of Dublin put together. It's like a UK time warp in Dublin - the only CCTV you see is the occasional camera for monitoring busy roads. No traffic light camera and few if any cameras for watching individuals. Even the UK government is happy to admit that the UK has more CCTV cameras than anywhere else in the world and it is only when you go to other countries that you realise just how vast the gulf is. Incidentally, the Irish government isn't talking about ID cards, another UK government Big Brother obsession.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big Bro' IS watching you

    Time I think for pubs to have lots of Groucho Marx parties. You know the thing, the thick framed glasses, the large nose, the moustache. Turn the lighting down. Lots of background noise. More, when did you last see a rowdy shopper in the supermarket wine and beer area? More false moustaches, I think. I can't find the link now but I read that a guy in the U.S. was paranoid about webcams and mikes inside digital-analogue boxes, quoting a Magnavox model. He reckoned it was the reason for the worldwide push to switch to digital TV. The poster bought a digibox and opened it up to disprove his pal's conspiracy theory. And there they were - a camera and a microphone. Don't know about you, but my family hardly speak while watching TV and surely the volume from the speakers would crowd out anything the mike might pick up. Not sure my folks would go along with watching from behind plastic Groucho marx masks though.

  63. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Surveillance society

    "The police pretty much said they can't do anything for our apartment block 'cos we didn't have CCTV"

    I think I'm speaking to the choir here but that is a bald-faced lie of course. Most of the US is not such a surveillance society (the police-state shit happens in New York City area mainly, along with Texas). But areas WITH excessive CCTV, they will try to use cameras *instead* of police on foot and in cars in the area (I don't know if they just figure the cameras can replace police, or just don't have money for both...) Since cameras don't catch anyone, and there's no longer police on patrol, crime goes up. They use this crime increase as an excuse to install *more* cameras.

    Here, some apartments have cameras in the hallways (to prevent vandalism mainly -- i.e. spraypainting the hallways... a few I've seen obviously were not even hooked up.) But in general, the best deterrent, police can get to anywhere in town within about 5 minutes. They still managed not to catch a serial mugger (even after they were given info what bar he hung out in, bragging about how he beat people up every night...) But in general..the US chav-equivalents (meth heads, gangbangers, and drunk students.. I don't live far enough south for drunken rednecks) are FAR more deterred from commiting petty crimes by the likelihood that someone will call the cops, they'll show up and toss them into a black-and-white, than they are deterred by being picked up on some shitty, blurry camera.

    The British plan for massive use of camera, and centralizing police in massive centralized installations, is exactly backwards from what you need to help with crime. It will not be documented well enough on the typical cheap cameras to do anything, and the centralized police will be so far from, well, everyone not immediately near the police station, that they won't come out to actually help with any crimes. And criminals are already criminals, will police catching them on CCTV and mailing them a ticket or whatever really going to do anything? No, if they are already vandalizing, mugging, and chaving it up, I see no reason they would pay the ticket anyway.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Get on with it already.

    The UK need to go ahead and get on with it already. It's obvious the government won't be satisfied until it has shoved an electronic leash up the arse of every citizen.

  65. Wayland Sothcott

    Make it easy on yourselves

    Or rather go along with it because it helps the police.

    We used to use Windows with 64MB of RAM but now most computer professionals would refuse to deal with such a machine until it had been upgraded to at least 512MB. It's not impossible for us to work on a 64MB machine but you would think so based on our reactions.

    And so it is with the police. They used to be able to solve crimes based on what witnesses saw. Now because CCTV is avialable, the only crimes they will work on are the ones on CCTV. So if you want help from the police you had better gather good CCTV evidence.

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