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Olivia McConville

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Are cctv cameras too invasive?

We live in a society which is in a constant threat of any form of attacks from gun men  to acts of terrorism. In order to live much safer, the government has taken it upon themselves to install CCTV (Closed circuit TV) cameras, but with these cameras comes along many issues. Are they invading our privacy because they are recording everything that happens every second in the world we live in or are they making our world a safer place?
One of the first advantages is that CCTV footage can be used as reliable evidence and cane help police in certain types of cases. Effective CCTV systems are a crucial source of crime detection and evidence for the police. One example of this is, “in 2009, 95% of Scotland Yard murder cases used CCTV footage as evidence”. This shows that the CCTV evidence is always reliable for very serious and big cases like murder and terrorism cases. Individuals who support  the use of CCTV cameras look at the success of using the CCTV footages in a areas a crime has been committed for help in identifying suspects in high profile crime cases such as “Robert Thompson and Jon Venables in the murder case of toddler James Bulgar, the Boston Marathon bombing, the London 7th July 2005 attacks and the 2011 UK riots. CCTV was also crucial in the hint for the Charlie Hebdo attackers”.
On the other hand these cameras are easily abused. We are told that surveillance cameras are never abused by their operators, who can all supposedly be trusted not to use the technology to their advantage, but this information is false these CCTV camera operators  are not angels and they are all a subject to the same temptations that everyone would sturggle with. An example of this is on the 24th of April 2010 in London, “Airport worker given police warning for ‘misusing’ body scanner: Man, 25, issued with harassment warning after allegedly taking photo of a female colleague at Heathrow,” by Mark Tran and was published in the Guardian. The police issued a warning for harassment against an airport worker after he supposedly took a photo of a female co-worker as she went through a full body scanner at London Heathrow airport. The incident, occurred at terminal 5 in the airport on the 10th March is believed to be ‘the first time’ an airport worker has been formally disciplined for abusing the full body scan scanners. The incident obviously sparked up privacy concerns over the use of the scanners by civil liberty groups. The ‘Equality and Human Rights Commission’ have warned the government that they need to take action to bring their policy for body scanning passengers at UK airports within the law.
It could also be argued that they reduce crime rates. Some governments/councils install cameras in shops, in the hope that cameras will help prevent crimes like theft being committed. If an individual is aware that there are CCTV cameras in a certain area, they should be put off trying to commit the crime near that location for the added scare of them being caught because it will be caught on video. Law abiding citizens have nothing to fear from CCTV, only criminals should be worried by it. Police cannot be everywhere and CCTV acts as a reminder to criminals that even when there are no police officers around, there is still a good chance they will be caught. CCTV has been most effective in reducing vehicle crime and theft. Crime has decreased by 51% in car parks using CCTV surveillance. CCTV has also led to greater reductions in crime in the UK compared to other countries.
Some people would argue that CCTV cameras are too expensive and almost pointless if more police are recruited. A report by the charity ‘NARCO’ in 2012 concluded that the money spent on cameras would be better used on street lighting, which has been shown to “cut crime by 20%”. Going back to the point of the cost of CCTV cameras, the “Home Office has previously provided some central funding to establish schemes”. “This amounted to:£38.5m provided to local areas between 1994 -1999 under the CCTV Challenge Competition – which funded 585 schemes nationwide”. Installing cameras can also be “pointless” because the government money should be spent on recruiting more police officers to work in communities affected by crime. They can get to know the local area and the people who live there, gathering intelligence on people who are most likely to commit crime. They can also run initiatives like ‘No Knives, Better Lives’.
In addition.,CCTV cameras are improves public safety. These cameras help you stay safe when your out eating, shopping and pretty much doing anything out in the public eye. Panoramic fisheye security cameras are installed in public spaces like junctions, shopping centres, car parks, etc. These specific cameras do an excellent job because they provide a 360° view of anything happening in these areas. The use of these cameras, can also deter crimes before they even begin in special cases. If a suspicious person or people or items are spotted in an area, the appropriate emergency service/s can be alerted to get to the area before any damage is done or any crime is committed.
Finally some people would argue that these cameras violate privacy rights. When you are walking down a road, driving, or hanging out with your friends in the public eye your every move will be captured with these cameras that are installed in these public areas. This creates a complete image of ones private life.Everybody is entitled to a  privately kept life, which we don’t want others or the government to know. The definition of privacy is : “a state in which one is not observed or disturbed by other people or the state of being free from public attention” but with these CCTV cameras being on  24/7 and tracking every move which can be seen on the camera by the controller these definitions of “privacy” are broken.
In conclusion we have learned that CCTV cameras are extremely helpful in helping certain crimes or certain situations but on the other hand there will always be crimes that CCTV cant put a stop to. The abuse of these cameras can also violation every persons basic human rights. Personally for me CCTV can be a great advantage when they are used right also can be very invasive in certain cases. Due to this i am still undecided on wether CCTV cameras are a good or bad thing.

sources : –                                                                                                                       https://reolink.com/pros-cons-of-surveillance-cameras-in-public-places/
http://satsecure.uk/blog/110-does-cctv-actually-prevent-crime/
http://www.notbored.org/camera-abuses.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30793614
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cost-of-cctv