Council To Spend £1m On CCTV Upgrade

More cameras for Shepherd's Bush's housing estates

Hammersmith & Fulham Council say they are spending more than £1m to upgrade the CCTV network on local housing estates.

New cameras will be installed on the Edward Woods Estate, Charecroft Estate, White City Estate, Batman Close and Becklow Gardens in Shepherd's Bush and there will be improved links to the central control room at Hammersmith Town Hall.

Marie Thomas, Chair of Hammersmith & Fulham Tenants' & Residents' Association, said the measures would make people feel more secure: “Residents want to be able to walk around their estate without having to keep an eye over one shoulder. In general, cameras do make most people feel safer,” she said.

The Police Borough Commander Kevin Hurley also said he supported the initiative: “Criminals like drug dealers, robbers and vandals do not like CCTV. They know the cameras make it more risky for them to carry out their selfish behaviour,” he said.

According to the Council, their network of CCTV cameras captures around 200 incidents a month, with a quarter of those resulting in an arrest.

However, civil liberties groups as well as the Information Commissioner's Office have long expressed concern about the increasing use of CCTV and state surveillance.

The House of Lords Constitution Committee also warned last year that the increased use of CCTV in public areas was threatening traditional freedoms.

"The UK now has more CCTV cameras and a bigger National DNA Database than any other country. There can be no justification for this gradual but incessant creep towards every detail about us being recorded and pored over by the state," said Lord Goodlad, the Committee's chairman.

An internal report by London's Metropolitan Police Service was reported last year as concluding that only one crime was solved for every 1,000 CCTV cameras, and that only eight out of 269 suspected robbers in a month were caught by the cameras.

But according to the minister of state for crime and policing David Hanson, Home Office research published in 2005 showed that over 80% of respondents supported the use of CCTV to deal with crime in their neighbourhood.

March 24, 2010