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3 studies of CCTV in Scotland suggest many failings

Posted by James Hammerton @ 6:34 pm on 5 December, 2009.
Categories privacy and surveillance, British politics.
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Update: The Scottish Government’s analysis at their website.

The Herald reports:

Three separate reports on CCTV were published yesterday, with the Scottish Government’s own analysis concluding that an “urgent” review of funding of the ageing systems was required.

There are more than 2225 public space cameras in Scotland. Glasgow has the highest concentration with 408, compared to 150 in Edinburgh.

Further research found that it will cost an extra £7 million to maintain CCTV provision in Scotland over the next three years. More than one third (38%) of cameras are over eight years old, with the lifespan of cameras typically seven to 10 years.

The report from the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research said: “Funding for existing CCTV systems across Scotland should be urgently reviewed. Aside from advancing digital technology, across Scotland several CCTV systems are becoming technologically obsolete or beyond economical repair.”

Government research noted the value of CCTV to the police and the strong public support of the cameras are often seen as the “panacea” to problems of crime and anti-social behaviour.

However, a separate paper on the impact of CCTV on crime found there was “minimal” evidence that CCTV effectively deters crime, with convicted offenders suggesting cameras were not perceived as a threat, particularly in situations fuelled by alcohol.

Shoplifting and vehicle theft were the crimes most prevented by cameras, with the deterrent effect less likely in city centres.

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