We had a letter through the door from our MP, talking about Worcester City Council’s proposed (and I believe, now approved) cuts on CCTV. I’d provide a link to the contents of the letter, but it doesn’t seem to be on his website. Anyway, here is what I wrote in reply.
Thank for you for letter regarding the CCTV situation in Worcester. I will be filling in the survey and returning it to you shortly, but I thought I would take a few minutes to give you my thoughts regarding some of the points you made in your letter and related issues.
The overall impression given in the letter is that the camera will no longer be there and that we will be less safe without them. You say
that you have “seen the statistics showing arrests made thanks to CCTV evidence”. Neither of these points are particularly informative or
helpful to me. If you have seen the statistics, I think it would have been useful to put that information in your letter, so that I and
others receiving it could make a more informed decision. Without that information how am I to know whether or not manning the CCTV
monitoring room is a cost effective use of council resources?
Which brings me to the second point, Â the use of CCTV as a deterrent. Before writing to you, I thought I would take the time to look at the news stories on the issue, to make sure that I was fully informed. None of them say that the CCTV cameras will be taken down, or that
they will no longer be recording. They say that they will no longer be monitored. If this is true, then the deterrent benefit is still there
because the evidence will still be stored.
It saddens me greatly that the image that you portray in your letter is one where we all need to be watched, constantly, to ensure our
safety. Technology and surveillance are not a panacea. The only long term answer to our society’s problem is education. Knowledge is a
shining beacon against ignorance. By informing the young they will grow up to be thoughtful, intelligent people. I would far rather my council spent it’s money on educating the people of Worcester than watching them.
I really do not think that it is the “professional” criminal that makes people feel unsafe in our city. Rather it is the things that CCTV cannot prevent, merely observe. Things like vandalism, drunk and disorderly people, gang violence, etc. I am not surprised that you do believe that it can stop these things with CCTV though, since you are a Labour MP. I find the Labour Government’s cavalier attitude to putting us all on databases and giving us ID cards, so you can track our every move very disturbing. I know the argument, if I’ve done nothing wrong I’ve got nothing to fear. What if the Government does something wrong and gets me confused with someone else with the same
name. How can I argue against the system? Our civil liberties have been hard won and no one deserves, as you voted to allow, to be locked
up for 42 days without charge, even if they are a “terrorist”. Who decides tomorrow who is a terrorist? Could it be someone who disagrees with you?
Which brings me onto my final point. I find it deeply distressing and abhorrent that you raised the 2005 terror attacks in London as a reason to support CCTV. In this case it neither prevented the crime, nor caught the people involved. They had blown themselves up, along with 50Â other people. CCTV could not save those people. CCTV will not comfort the people who lost loved ones. The warm glow of the CCTV monitor will not put any warmth back into those people who died. You should be ashamed.