Surveillance society no bar to crime, say Lib Dems

jonathan moyes
Local Guardian
Friday October 05, 2007

THE numbers of CCTV cameras makes no difference to the number of criminals the police arrest, local Liberal Democrats claim.

Figures they obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show Waltham Forest, one of five boroughs in London with under 100 CCTV cameras, secured arrest figures in line with the national average of 20 per cent.

Nearby Tower Hamlets returned similar figures despite having nearly ten times as many cameras on the streets.

Deputy council leader, Cllr Keith Rayner, said: "These clear-up figures suggest that the surveillance society we are living in isn't helping in the fight against crime.

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"We need to think again to ensure that we are implementing the most effective methods for tackling criminal behaviour. Residents have told us that they want to see police officers and wardens on their streets."

The council's Lib Dem group leader added that the Government had given the state unprecedented powers to invade citizens' lives.

He said his party called for the immediate repeal of the Identity Cards Act, the destruction of all DNA samples taken from those not charged or convicted and greater regulation of CCTV.

Results of survey of Leyton and Wanstead residents revealed 62 per cent felt more likely to be a victim of crime, 81 per cent felt unsafe after dark and 77 per cent called for more police to patrol at night.

Of those surveyed, 92 per cent were in favour of residents having the power to close pubs or clubs.

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