Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/22/councils_cctv/

Councils spunk £515m in 4 years on CCTV

Hey big spender, Birmingham

By Guardian Government Computing

Posted in Government, 22nd February 2012 09:32 GMT

UK local authorities spent a total of £515m installing, operating and maintaining CCTV between 2007-11, according to the privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch.

It has released figures obtained from freedom of information (FoI) requests showing that Birmingham was the highest spender on CCTV with more than £14m, while Westminster spent nearly £12m. The group claimed that 428 councils responded to the requests, accounting for 98.6 per cent of the total.

According to Big Brother Watch, the findings show that Leicester has the highest number of CCTV cameras, with 2,083 in total. Other authorities with more than 1,000 include Fife, Wandsworth, Nottingham and Southampton.

The data also shows that:

Caerphilly has challenged this figure, claiming it does not provide an accurate reflection of the information it provided in response to the FoI request.

Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: "Surveillance is an important tool in modern policing but it is not a substitute for policing. In too many cities across the country every corner has a camera but only a few ever see a police officer. Despite millions of cameras, Britain's crime rate is not significantly lower than comparable countries that do not have such a vast surveillance state.

"There is no credible evidence that more cameras will reduce crime, yet councils have poured enough money into CCTV in just four years that would have put more than 4,000 extra police officers on the streets."

The five lowest spenders on CCTV were Arun council, which spent £250,000 between 2007-11, Mid Sussex (£462,000), West Devon (£737,000), Waverley (£1.1m) and Rutland (£1.4m).

The department of Communities and Local Government declined to comment on the findings.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

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