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Concerns about use made of CCTV

07 February 2014


From the Revd Geoffrey Squire

Sir, - I read with interest "CCTV: more supporters" (News, 3 January). Your report makes reference to the use of CCTV "in order to prevent acts of terrorism". The vast majority of British CCTV use has, however, nothing whatever to do with terrorism or serious crime, but much more to do with a very heavy-handed approach to trivial offences such as minor littering and parking on yellow lines.

One very decent young graduate whom I know can probably never work with children, because his 100-year police record for disorder-related obscenity was disclosed on his CRB form. One may say that no one with a police record for obscenity is suitable to work with children, but all he did was to give a V-sign to a CCTV camera that was being used in an unacceptable manner. The police arrived with sirens wailing and lights flashing, and he was given an £80 Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) fine "for obscenity": "For making an obscene sign to the camera and therefore to the officer observing it".

We know of several other very decent young people who have had their careers or vocations destroyed by such extreme use of CCTV and the PND. If those Christians who took part in that survey knew about that, they would probably have given a very different answer.

Furthermore, one has to ask why it is that most other EC nations do not see the need for the use of CCTV "to prevent acts of terrorism", and why the present British use of CCTV is the most extreme of any nation at any time, except, perhaps, the former communist East Germany.

Administrator, Youthlink (England and Wales)
Little Cross, Goodleigh
Devon EX32 7NR

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