Call for system to ensure proper use of CCTV

By MICHAEL SETTLE | A new system should be introduced to ensure that the growing number of CCTV cameras are used properly, Ann McKechin, the Labour MP for Glasgow North, will propose in the House of Commons this week.

She said: “Seventy percent of CCTV is operated by private companies. There are 16 different types of system operated by public authorities in the Strathclyde Police area. We need a system that makes sure that cameras are used properly.”

The back bencher is proposing a statutory duty for public bodies such as local authorities, transport groups and housing associations to work together with their local police forces to achieve streamlining of public systems.

Ms McKechin wants shops, shopping centres and licensed premises to agree a code of conduct on the use and storage of CCTV images.

Her proposals would require private organisations which control large areas open to the public such as cinemas, hotels and shopping centres or large bars and clubs to provide the local police force with up-to-date information on the type of CCTV systems that they use and how they use them.

The 4.2 million CCTV cameras in Britain has led to accusations that the nation has become a “surveillance society”, which was one of the issues at the centre of the campaign by David Davis, the former Shadow Home Secretary, who last week regained the seat of Haltemprice and Howden in a by-election.

Last week, the latest row over CCTV cameras emerged in the idyllic fishing village of Elgol on Skye, where locals have complained over the siting of a £1200 camera by the local council, claiming it was an intrusion into the area’s tranquility.

However, Highland Council has made clear that the only reason it has installed the camera is to monitor a dispute between two rival boat-trip companies.

Ms McKechin will use the parliamentary device of the 10-minute rule bill on Wednesday to raise the issue of CCTV cameras. Without the backing of the UK Government, it will not become law.