Cut back on 'useless' CCTV

First published in Letters

I HAVE just filled out the Wirral Council form on their website to let them know what cuts I think are acceptable.

I was shocked and appalled to see that there was absolutely no mention of cutting back on the number of CCTV cameras appearing across the borough!

Considering that it has been proven again and again, in study after study, that CCTV cameras do not reduce crime but only displace it; it is a mystery to me why the continued proliferation of these cameras has not been top off the list of things to cut?

Just how much is it costing to install these intimidating cameras mounted on their black poles? And how much are the ongoing maintenance charges?

And who, if anybody, is actually monitoring these cameras and how much does their monitoring cost?

CCTV does not make me feel safe, rather it makes me feel as if I am being watched because I am mistrusted.

It also wouldn't surprise me if the number of intrusive cameras now appearing seemingly everywhere has a dramatic adverse affect upon much needed tourism to our area.

After all who would want to go on holiday to a place where you are so mistrusted you are constantly filmed?

Please could you publish this letter so that the use of Wirral CCTV can finally be brought to the discussion about cuts because

I think that it is appalling that good hardworking men and women, providing valuable council services, can be facing redundancy while the so-called security industry continue to receive funding to build their secret spy network.

PT Cartlidge by email.

Comments (4)

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11:52pm Wed 2 Jan 13

Thepleb says...

CCtv serves a purpose and if you are a law abiding member of the public you have nothing to fear.
Its hardworking Wirral Council workers that look after the cctv cameras 24 hours a day 7 days a week in the council control centre.
So should we cut their jobs to pass it over to the Security Services?
Obviously Pt Cartlidge has been a naughty boy and been seen by cctv cameras.
CCtv serves a purpose and if you are a law abiding member of the public you have nothing to fear. Its hardworking Wirral Council workers that look after the cctv cameras 24 hours a day 7 days a week in the council control centre. So should we cut their jobs to pass it over to the Security Services? Obviously Pt Cartlidge has been a naughty boy and been seen by cctv cameras. Thepleb
  • Score: 0

8:09pm Wed 9 Jan 13

porl112 says...

Pt Cartlidge is right.

Clearly Wirral's CCTV doesn't prevent crime.

Argyle Street has had CCTV for years now and I remember watching Crimewatch a few years ago when they showed actual CCTV footage of a murder in Argyle Street that took place outside Rockies nightclub. CCTV didn't stop that murder did it?

And only this week a young lady was punched in the face in Birkenhead Town Centre. Again CCTV didn't stop that either!

So please do let us know what good CCTV actually does! You need to have a look at

http://www.bigbrothe
rwatch.org.uk/

for some real facts about how expensive and useless CCTV really is.

From what you say in your reply it seems to me that the only purpose wirral CCTV serves is to keep nosey little peeping Toms like yourself in a cushy council tax funded job.

You need to be either sacked or redeployed to a more socially useful job.

I'd like to see your type out on the streets, on foot, preventing crime from happening in the first place rather than sat on your fat backside, in your secret den, recording it happening.

And if you read PtCartlidge's letter properly he is clearly talking about getting rid of CCTV to save money not handing it over to the private sector!

Your inability to read and understand a simple letter, demonstrated by your response, does not give me much confidence that you are any good whatsoever at your job either.

Gathering evidence requires brains.
Pt Cartlidge is right. Clearly Wirral's CCTV doesn't prevent crime. Argyle Street has had CCTV for years now and I remember watching Crimewatch a few years ago when they showed actual CCTV footage of a murder in Argyle Street that took place outside Rockies nightclub. CCTV didn't stop that murder did it? And only this week a young lady was punched in the face in Birkenhead Town Centre. Again CCTV didn't stop that either! So please do let us know what good CCTV actually does! You need to have a look at http://www.bigbrothe rwatch.org.uk/ for some real facts about how expensive and useless CCTV really is. From what you say in your reply it seems to me that the only purpose wirral CCTV serves is to keep nosey little peeping Toms like yourself in a cushy council tax funded job. You need to be either sacked or redeployed to a more socially useful job. I'd like to see your type out on the streets, on foot, preventing crime from happening in the first place rather than sat on your fat backside, in your secret den, recording it happening. And if you read PtCartlidge's letter properly he is clearly talking about getting rid of CCTV to save money not handing it over to the private sector! Your inability to read and understand a simple letter, demonstrated by your response, does not give me much confidence that you are any good whatsoever at your job either. Gathering evidence requires brains. porl112
  • Score: 0

5:02pm Thu 10 Jan 13

Thepleb says...

Personally I don't work for the council and my backside certainly isn't fat.
I know the work the council workers in the control centre carry out and if you did you wouldn't make childish ill thought out comments on here.
The girl assaulted in Birkenhead I believe the police have got the person responsible after CCTV images were released in the papers.
The fact the murder was seen on CCTV would surely help the police find out who carried out that crime and the people involved.
Anything that assists the low resourced police in carrying out their job must be a valuable asset.
I think my job will be safe as I require no brains or skills To do it.
Personally I don't work for the council and my backside certainly isn't fat. I know the work the council workers in the control centre carry out and if you did you wouldn't make childish ill thought out comments on here. The girl assaulted in Birkenhead I believe the police have got the person responsible after CCTV images were released in the papers. The fact the murder was seen on CCTV would surely help the police find out who carried out that crime and the people involved. Anything that assists the low resourced police in carrying out their job must be a valuable asset. I think my job will be safe as I require no brains or skills To do it. Thepleb
  • Score: 0

7:18pm Fri 11 Jan 13

porl112 says...

Thepleb wrote:
Personally I don't work for the council and my backside certainly isn't fat.
I know the work the council workers in the control centre carry out and if you did you wouldn't make childish ill thought out comments on here.
The girl assaulted in Birkenhead I believe the police have got the person responsible after CCTV images were released in the papers.
The fact the murder was seen on CCTV would surely help the police find out who carried out that crime and the people involved.
Anything that assists the low resourced police in carrying out their job must be a valuable asset.
I think my job will be safe as I require no brains or skills To do it.
I have already posted this reply to another reader who asked me just why I don't like CCTV so I apologise if you have already seen this but I think you need to understand where I am coming from. I will paste it below...

I have no problem with cameras on private property or in shops. It is CCTV in public spaces that is the worry.

Video surveillance has not been proven effective

In Britain, where we have more cameras in public places than any other nation on earth, sociologists studying the issue have found that they have not reduced crime. Once the crime and offence figures were adjusted to take account of the general downward trend in crimes and offences reductions were noted in certain categories but there was no evidence to suggest that the cameras had reduced crime overall in the city centre.

In addition, U.S. government experts on security technology, noting that "monitoring video screens is both boring and mesmerizing," have found in experiments that "after only 20 minutes of watching and evaluating monitor screens, the attention of most individuals has degenerated to well below acceptable levels."

CCTV is also susceptible to abuse

One problem with creating such a powerful surveillance system is that experience tells us it will inevitably be abused. There are five ways that surveillance-camera systems are likely to be misused:

1. Criminal abuse

Surveillance systems present law enforcement "bad apples" with a tempting opportunity for criminal misuse. In 1997, for example, a top-ranking police official in Washington, DC was caught using police databases to gather information on patrons of a gay club. By looking up the license plate numbers of cars parked at the club and researching the backgrounds of the vehicles' owners, he tried to blackmail patrons who were married. Imagine what someone like that could do with a citywide spy-camera system like the one we now have on Wirral !

And of course I am sure you are aware of our own Birkenhead CCTV **** video doing the rounds? A few years back somebody at Wirral CCTV copied some of the recordings of young couples copulating in various outdoor locations around Birkenhead and released it onto the internet. There were also videos released casting shame on the town showing drunks fighting and urinating in doorways.

2. Institutional abuse

Sometimes, bad policies are set at the top, and an entire law enforcement agency is turned toward abusive ends. That is especially prone to happen in periods of social turmoil and intense conflict over government policies. During the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War, for example, the FBI – as well as many individual police departments around the nation – conducted illegal operations to spy upon and harass political activists who were challenging racial segregation and the Vietnam War.

This concern is especially justified today since the current rancid right wing government seems hell bent on making the poor poorer and removing peoples rights to a home and any kind of support should they fall on hard times. This is bound to create more social divisions and therefore social and political conflict.

3. Abuse for personal purposes

Powerful surveillance tools also create temptations to abuse them for personal purposes. An investigation by the Detroit Free Press, for example, showed that a database available to Michigan law enforcement was used by officers to help their friends or themselves stalk women, threaten motorists after traffic altercations, and track estranged spouses.

4. Discriminatory targeting

Video camera systems are operated by humans who bring to the job all their existing prejudices and biases. In the UK, camera operators have been found to focus disproportionately on people of color. According to a sociological study of how the systems were operated, "Black people were between one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half times more likely to be surveilled than one would expect from their presence in the population."

5. Voyeurism

Experts studying how the camera systems in Britain are operated have also found that the mostly male (and probably bored) operators frequently use the cameras to voyeuristically spy on women. Fully one in 10 women were targeted for entirely voyeuristic reasons, the researchers found.

Have I changed your mind yet?

If not perhaps you might care to look at this link which shows that councils have spent 500 million pounds on CCTV in the last four years alone! When it comes to CCTV it seems there is no austerity. And, of course, Wirral is about to have to slash essential services to our old folks and other vulnerable groups.

http://www.bigbrothe

rwatch.org.uk/home/2

012/02/price-privacy

-councils-spend-521m

.html

And have a look at this link too. It explains how councils have abused their powers to access our information held by the DVLA to enforce the most petty of offences. Do you really think we should be trusting these guys to 'guard' us with CCTV?

http://www.bigbrothe

rwatch.org.uk/home/2

012/12/dvla-tackle-2

94-public-organisati

ons-for-database-abu

se.html

And, could I ask you where you think this will end? We started with CCTV in shops. Then it was put in our town centres. Now it is appearing everywhere across our town. Are you in favour of putting it in our homes too? Perhaps in your bedroom to make sure you aren't smacking your wife? After all you have nothing to worry about if you are not doing anything wrong have you?

You may think that sounds far fetched but have a look at this link. It shows how hidden CCTV is being used in schools across the UK. And that includes school toilets and changing rooms.

http://www.bigbrothe

rwatch.org.uk/home/2

012/12/dvla-tackle-2

94-public-organisati

ons-for-database-abu

se.html

Imagine if Sir Jimmy Saville had got himself a job monitoring those cameras! Imagine the fun he could have had !

Still in favour? Then, let me go on.

Video surveillance also has a chilling effect on public life

The growing presence of public cameras will bring subtle but profound changes to the character of our public spaces. When citizens are being watched by the authorities -- or aware they might be watched at any time -- they are more self-conscious and less free-wheeling. As syndicated columnist Jacob Sullum has pointed out, "knowing that you are being watched by armed government agents tends to put a damper on things. You don't want to offend them or otherwise call attention to yourself." Eventually, he warns, "people may learn to be careful about the books and periodicals they read in public, avoiding titles that might alarm unseen observers. They may also put more thought into how they dress, lest they look like terrorists, gang members, druggies or hookers." Indeed, the studies of cameras in the UK found that people deemed to be "out of time and place" with the surroundings were subjected to prolonged surveillance.

And finally, the latest CCTV systems are able to identify a person by their face and their walk in seconds. Can you imagine the immense and terrifying power that will give to any kind of fascist government that may get themselves elected in the future?

Can you imagine how much more difficult life would have been for the Jewish and French Resistance in the Second World War had the Natzis had access to such technology?

No, CCTV is expensive. It doesn't prevent crime it merely displaces it. It creates the fear of crime. It kills individuality, free protest and difference. It encourages snooping and corrupts the camera operators by creating voyeurs and peeping Toms and it costs a fortune. Money that should be being spent on Police or on tackling the causes of crime to prevent crime happening in the first place.

The only winners from CCTV are the security industry. They want us all to live in fear so they can rake it simultaneously raping the public purse whilst destroying our hard won freedoms and privacy.

SAY NO TO CCTV.

Oh, and I noticed yesterday that the CCTV camera at Charing Cross now has a picture drawn by an 8 year old at one of our local primaries attached to it. It has been put there by the council. It simply says," Now we can speak to you as well as see you".

It refers to the fact that the cameras at Charing Cross now have speakers so the Jimmy Savilles at Council Spy HQ can criticise passers by at Charing Cross at will.

To my mind this is a chilling development. Teaching children that it is acceptable to be watched on CCTV as they go about their private business in the street is tantamount to brianwashing. Obviously, the CCTV industry and the Jimmy Savilles who monitor their equipment are making sure the future generation will accept 24 Hour surveillance.

So, you may get a camera in your home sooner than you think and yes even one in your bedroom.
[quote][p][bold]Thepleb[/bold] wrote: Personally I don't work for the council and my backside certainly isn't fat. I know the work the council workers in the control centre carry out and if you did you wouldn't make childish ill thought out comments on here. The girl assaulted in Birkenhead I believe the police have got the person responsible after CCTV images were released in the papers. The fact the murder was seen on CCTV would surely help the police find out who carried out that crime and the people involved. Anything that assists the low resourced police in carrying out their job must be a valuable asset. I think my job will be safe as I require no brains or skills To do it.[/p][/quote]I have already posted this reply to another reader who asked me just why I don't like CCTV so I apologise if you have already seen this but I think you need to understand where I am coming from. I will paste it below... I have no problem with cameras on private property or in shops. It is CCTV in public spaces that is the worry. Video surveillance has not been proven effective In Britain, where we have more cameras in public places than any other nation on earth, sociologists studying the issue have found that they have not reduced crime. Once the crime and offence figures were adjusted to take account of the general downward trend in crimes and offences reductions were noted in certain categories but there was no evidence to suggest that the cameras had reduced crime overall in the city centre. In addition, U.S. government experts on security technology, noting that "monitoring video screens is both boring and mesmerizing," have found in experiments that "after only 20 minutes of watching and evaluating monitor screens, the attention of most individuals has degenerated to well below acceptable levels." CCTV is also susceptible to abuse One problem with creating such a powerful surveillance system is that experience tells us it will inevitably be abused. There are five ways that surveillance-camera systems are likely to be misused: 1. Criminal abuse Surveillance systems present law enforcement "bad apples" with a tempting opportunity for criminal misuse. In 1997, for example, a top-ranking police official in Washington, DC was caught using police databases to gather information on patrons of a gay club. By looking up the license plate numbers of cars parked at the club and researching the backgrounds of the vehicles' owners, he tried to blackmail patrons who were married. Imagine what someone like that could do with a citywide spy-camera system like the one we now have on Wirral ! And of course I am sure you are aware of our own Birkenhead CCTV **** video doing the rounds? A few years back somebody at Wirral CCTV copied some of the recordings of young couples copulating in various outdoor locations around Birkenhead and released it onto the internet. There were also videos released casting shame on the town showing drunks fighting and urinating in doorways. 2. Institutional abuse Sometimes, bad policies are set at the top, and an entire law enforcement agency is turned toward abusive ends. That is especially prone to happen in periods of social turmoil and intense conflict over government policies. During the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War, for example, the FBI – as well as many individual police departments around the nation – conducted illegal operations to spy upon and harass political activists who were challenging racial segregation and the Vietnam War. This concern is especially justified today since the current rancid right wing government seems hell bent on making the poor poorer and removing peoples rights to a home and any kind of support should they fall on hard times. This is bound to create more social divisions and therefore social and political conflict. 3. Abuse for personal purposes Powerful surveillance tools also create temptations to abuse them for personal purposes. An investigation by the Detroit Free Press, for example, showed that a database available to Michigan law enforcement was used by officers to help their friends or themselves stalk women, threaten motorists after traffic altercations, and track estranged spouses. 4. Discriminatory targeting Video camera systems are operated by humans who bring to the job all their existing prejudices and biases. In the UK, camera operators have been found to focus disproportionately on people of color. According to a sociological study of how the systems were operated, "Black people were between one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half times more likely to be surveilled than one would expect from their presence in the population." 5. Voyeurism Experts studying how the camera systems in Britain are operated have also found that the mostly male (and probably bored) operators frequently use the cameras to voyeuristically spy on women. Fully one in 10 women were targeted for entirely voyeuristic reasons, the researchers found. Have I changed your mind yet? If not perhaps you might care to look at this link which shows that councils have spent 500 million pounds on CCTV in the last four years alone! When it comes to CCTV it seems there is no austerity. And, of course, Wirral is about to have to slash essential services to our old folks and other vulnerable groups. http://www.bigbrothe rwatch.org.uk/home/2 012/02/price-privacy -councils-spend-521m .html And have a look at this link too. It explains how councils have abused their powers to access our information held by the DVLA to enforce the most petty of offences. Do you really think we should be trusting these guys to 'guard' us with CCTV? http://www.bigbrothe rwatch.org.uk/home/2 012/12/dvla-tackle-2 94-public-organisati ons-for-database-abu se.html And, could I ask you where you think this will end? We started with CCTV in shops. Then it was put in our town centres. Now it is appearing everywhere across our town. Are you in favour of putting it in our homes too? Perhaps in your bedroom to make sure you aren't smacking your wife? After all you have nothing to worry about if you are not doing anything wrong have you? You may think that sounds far fetched but have a look at this link. It shows how hidden CCTV is being used in schools across the UK. And that includes school toilets and changing rooms. http://www.bigbrothe rwatch.org.uk/home/2 012/12/dvla-tackle-2 94-public-organisati ons-for-database-abu se.html Imagine if Sir Jimmy Saville had got himself a job monitoring those cameras! Imagine the fun he could have had ! Still in favour? Then, let me go on. Video surveillance also has a chilling effect on public life The growing presence of public cameras will bring subtle but profound changes to the character of our public spaces. When citizens are being watched by the authorities -- or aware they might be watched at any time -- they are more self-conscious and less free-wheeling. As syndicated columnist Jacob Sullum has pointed out, "knowing that you are being watched by armed government agents tends to put a damper on things. You don't want to offend them or otherwise call attention to yourself." Eventually, he warns, "people may learn to be careful about the books and periodicals they read in public, avoiding titles that might alarm unseen observers. They may also put more thought into how they dress, lest they look like terrorists, gang members, druggies or hookers." Indeed, the studies of cameras in the UK found that people deemed to be "out of time and place" with the surroundings were subjected to prolonged surveillance. And finally, the latest CCTV systems are able to identify a person by their face and their walk in seconds. Can you imagine the immense and terrifying power that will give to any kind of fascist government that may get themselves elected in the future? Can you imagine how much more difficult life would have been for the Jewish and French Resistance in the Second World War had the Natzis had access to such technology? No, CCTV is expensive. It doesn't prevent crime it merely displaces it. It creates the fear of crime. It kills individuality, free protest and difference. It encourages snooping and corrupts the camera operators by creating voyeurs and peeping Toms and it costs a fortune. Money that should be being spent on Police or on tackling the causes of crime to prevent crime happening in the first place. The only winners from CCTV are the security industry. They want us all to live in fear so they can rake it simultaneously raping the public purse whilst destroying our hard won freedoms and privacy. SAY NO TO CCTV. Oh, and I noticed yesterday that the CCTV camera at Charing Cross now has a picture drawn by an 8 year old at one of our local primaries attached to it. It has been put there by the council. It simply says," Now we can speak to you as well as see you". It refers to the fact that the cameras at Charing Cross now have speakers so the Jimmy Savilles at Council Spy HQ can criticise passers by at Charing Cross at will. To my mind this is a chilling development. Teaching children that it is acceptable to be watched on CCTV as they go about their private business in the street is tantamount to brianwashing. Obviously, the CCTV industry and the Jimmy Savilles who monitor their equipment are making sure the future generation will accept 24 Hour surveillance. So, you may get a camera in your home sooner than you think and yes even one in your bedroom. porl112
  • Score: 0

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