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Home Office wants powers to force CCTV on shops and pubs

Posted by James Hammerton @ 8:25 pm on 6 March, 2009.
Categories privacy and surveillance, British politics.
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The Register reports:

If you’re planning to buy alcohol in the near future, and prefer not to have your mugshot made available to the local police, best to stock up now. Because, buried deep within the debate around the s.31 of the Policing and Crime Bill are provisions that will allow the Secretary of State to instruct your local corner shop - or pub - to instal CCTV and retain pictures of anyone buying alcohol for at least 60 days. Said pics will, of course, be available to the police on request.

Like so much other legislation passed by this government, nothing is ever straightforward. The Policing Bill merely gives the Secretary of State the power to issue secondary legislation (aka statutory instruments – or executive diktat): these would consist of

- a small number of mandatory licence conditions”, which the government suggests should be no more than nine in number, “that apply to all new or existing licences and club premises certificates which permit the sale of alcohol,

or

- a larger number of permitted conditions, which the licensing authority can, in consultation with responsible authorities, apply to more than one licensed premises or club at a time.

In other words, Parliament is being asked to sign a blank cheque: give us the powers now, and we will use them as we see fit at a later date.

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