CCTV; Great Expectations, Minor Protection Final Paper: The deployment and failure or success of public CCTV systems in the United Kingdom against crime, terrorism and overall public opinion

Essay by carlwinsloUniversity, Master'sA+, April 2006

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Recent acts of terrorism are surprising unsuspecting nations all over the world, and it is not an act that will soon be outdated, but rather a new guerilla warfare that is gaining popularity among its supporters. In the early '90's the United Kingdom suffered violent terrorist attacks by the hands of the IRA, which used fear as its main tactic to disturb the lives of innocent people. In response to those attacks, the United Kingdom decided to implement a closed circuit security system of cameras in public places, with the hope of better securing their major cities against further terrorist acts.

In 1994, 79 British cities were monitoring their central districts with a network of surveillance cameras. By 1998, 440 cities were wired. From 1996 to 1998, three-quarters of the Home Office's Crime Prevention budget was spent on CCTV cameras. (Blake)

The controversy now remains in the question as to whether or not CCTV is effective, as well as "citizen friendly".

Through research, no adequate proof has been found that the United Kingdom's use of CCTV matches their country's expectations in crime prevention, because there is no agreement on the validity of crime statistics.

Although CCTV seems promising in the regard that it can stop terrorist attacks before they occur, this is not always the case, as in the London bombings, which occurred in July 2005. After the bombings, CCTV films were viewed and were only helpful in putting faces on the terrorist bombers, which could have otherwise gone unnamed. Even though it was helpful to identify these bombers, the CCTV system was argued to be futile because the bottom line was the bomb still exploded, and 26 innocent people still died. (Edwards/Hughes)

Another example of CCTV's unreliability was highlighted in an article by Jeff Edwards and Chris Hughes, who...