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Schools defend growing use of CCTV cameras

21 September 2012

CLAIMS by the pressure group Big Brother Watch that thousands of schools, including scores of church schools, use security cameras to deter intruders and prevent vandalism and violence were confirmed this week by the Local Government Association and diocesan education authorities. The Big Brother Watch report, Class of 1984, said that the average secondary school now has 24 cameras, and academies about 30.

The report also states that more than 200 schools and academies, some of which were church schools, had installed cameras in lavatory areas. The director of education for Liverpool diocese, Jon Richardson, said that the primary purpose of surveillance cameras was to protect buildings from vandalism and students from harm. Where they are used in lavatory areas, they would not be trained on individual cubicles but on the washbasin areas, which were often hotspots for bullying. Many newly built schools were being designed to make washbasin areas visible to passers-by, he said.

The diocese of London's interim director of education, Inigo Woolf, said that security cameras were ubiquitous and often an insurance requirement. An LGA spokesman said: "Head teachers and governors are best placed to know the needs of their school."

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