CCTV has almost no impact on crime, says Home Office report

Last year I wrote about the ineffectiveness of mass CCTV surveillance and suggested that we should fix the broken way in which CCTV is used in the UK. Now a report funded by the Home Office has reached the same conclusion. It turns out that CCTV has almost no impact on crime. Except in car parks.

The use of closed-circuit television in city and town centres and public housing estates does not have a significant effect on crime, according to Home Office-funded research to be distributed to all police forces in England and Wales this summer.

This is a shame since…

Over the last decade, CCTV accounted for more than three quarters of total spending on crime prevention by the British Home Office…

The Lords report said that £500 million was spent in Britain on CCTV in the decade up to 2006, money which in the past would have gone on street lighting or neighbourhood crime prevention initiatives.

If the Home Office’s attitude to CCTV doesn’t change in the light of these findings more people will start to wonder about the nature of the Government’s surveillance agenda.

Hat tip: Glyn Moody