Privacy groups have slammed new bin lorries in York that have been fitted with CCTV cameras.
Waste management bosses claim the installation of the cameras is to cut costs, check on efficiency, and see whether certain addresses need “special action”.
However privacy campaign groups have called the introduction of the CCTV cameras as a “needless intrusion” on staff that turn the trucks into “mobile surveillance vehicles”.
Geoff Derham, head of waste and cleaning services at the council, said:
“This will provide a live feed to enable officers to monitor vehicles and increase supervision.
“It will also be linked to the tracking system so that, if necessary, footage can be used as evidence to support residents’ reports of damaged bins or for insurance claims.”
Privacy groups oppose the idea. Dr Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International, said:
“The use of surveillance needs to be justified and the case hasn’t been made here, neither for the protection of workers’ privacy or that of people whose bins are being collected. I have a hard time understanding how surveillance is seen to be necessary for damaged bins or insurance claims. It sounds like quite a waste of money to have a real-time bin collection feed.”
Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles said:
“CCTV is definitely not going to help people’s bins get emptied, and it looks like this scheme is a way of managers checking up on staff, while raising the potential for bin collection lorries to double up as mobile surveillance vehicles.”
The cost of each truck comes to around £175,000 and managing the fleet is expected to cost £1.53 million this year. Council bosses claim that the footage obtained by the trucks will be held for 90 days.