Big Brother Is Watching: Local council controlled CCTV cameras treble in a decade

Research conducted by Big Brother Watch reveals that in less than 10 years the number of CCTV cameras controlled by local councils has risen from 21,000 to 60,000.
Top lines from the research (full breakdown by local authority available here) include:

  • There are currently at least 59,753 CCTV cameras controlled by 418 local authorities in Britain, up from 21,000 in 1999
  • This equates to 1 council owned CCTV camera for every 1000 people in the country
  • Portsmouth and Nottinghamshire Councils are in control of the most CCTV cameras with 1,454 each

  • Residents in the Outer Hebrides are the most watched people in the UK with 8.3 CCTV cameras controlled by the council for every 1000 people. Portsmouth has the second highest number of CCTV cameras per 1000 people with 7.8

  • The council controlling the highest number of CCTV cameras in Scotland is Fife with 1350 cameras
  • The council in Wales controlling the highest number of CCTV cameras is Swansea with 326 cameras
  • The council controlling the highest number of CCTV cameras in Northern Ireland is Belfast with 400 cameras
  • The total number of CCTV cameras controlled by councils in London is 8,112, which equals 1.2 CCTV cameras for every 1000 people living in the capital. Wandsworth is the most watched borough in London with 1113 CCTV cameras, or 4.3 cameras for every 1000 residents

Research conducted by Big Brother Watch – the new campaign fighting intrusions on privacy and protecting liberties – has revealed that Britain’s local councils are currently in control of 59,753 CCTV cameras. When a similar study was conducted 10 years ago, the authors found there were approximately 21,000 cameras in just 86% of local authorities; which equates to a rise of 279 per cent in under a decade.

Big Brother Is Watching is the first report by Big Brother Watch bringing together the various arguments against CCTV and placing them alongside a definitive list of the number of CCTV cameras operated by Britain’s 428 local authorities, to establish the full extent of Britain’s local authority controlled surveillance.

Alex Deane, Director of Big Brother Watch, said:

"Local councils across Britain are creating enormous networks of CCTV surveillance at great expense, but the evidence for the ability of CCTV to deter or solve crimes is sketchy at best.

"The quality of footage is frequently too poor to be used in courts, the cameras are often turned off to save money and control rooms are rarely manned 24-hours-a-day.

"With crime on the increase, it is understandable that some people want more CCTV, but we would all feel safer with more police on the beat, there would be fewer crimes and those crimes that do occur would be solved faster."

To read the full report, which includes detailed information on every local authority, please click here.