H&F Has Country's Third Highest Number of CCTV Cameras

Report reveals council spends nearly £2.5 million a year and has 1,150 cameras

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Map of CCTV cameras in H&F

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London councils are bucking the national trend of cutting spending on CCTV cameras, according to a new report from campaigning group Big Brother Watch.

Data gathered through Freedom of Information Requests reveals that of the ten UK local authorities operating the most CCTV cameras, seven were in the capital, with Hammersmith and Fulham the third highest.

The report found that H&F has 1,150 cameras, behind only Hackney, which has the most cameras, 2900, and Wandsworth, second with 2246.

Hammersmith and Fulham was also one of 13 councils with an annual spend on CCTV of over £2 million, though its total of £2,411,059 was well below the biggest spender Westminster, topping the table with an annual spend of £7,327,747.33.

The report claims that the usefulness of CCTV can at best be described as 'variable' and says that although as a group it does not advocate the removal of all CCTV cameras and understands that they can be beneficial when used effectively, 'the benefits have never been fully assessed, other than the benefits into the investigation of car crime'.

Data was gathered though Freedom of Information Requests and reveals that Wandsworth has spent £997,119.81 on CCTV. This compares with Westminster's spend at over £7.3 million with 134 cameras, and neighbouring borough Richmond's spend of just under £300,000 on 103 cameras. Hackney spent just over £1million on its 2900 cameras.

Nationally the report found that there has been a decrease in the money spent on the installation, maintenance and monitoring of CCTV. Some parts of the country have scrapped their CCTV schemes altogether, while London boroughs have reported a 71 per cent increase in CCTV coverage since 2012.

The government's Surveillance Cameras Commissioner, Anthony Porter, has supported the report: "It will provide a framework and guidance to ensure that every pound of public money spent on surveillance camera systems is spent wisely.

"My team is developing a process... which will allow local authorities to follow an incremental and intelligent approach to considering whether a new surveillance camera system is essential."

You can read the full report, called Are They Still Watching? here.

February 24, 2016