A council has decided not to install CCTV cameras in a crime-ridden area on the grounds they would “contravene the Human Rights Act”.
Over the past year, anti-social behaviour has soared in the South Hams area of south Devon. But the local authority claims that the cameras would breach people’s right to a “private life”.
The council’s stand comes amid a number of complaints by residents in Dartmouth, Devon, about the rise in anti-social behaviour such as drunkenness and vandalism.
The council yesterday revealed it would prefer to tackle the problem by improving lighting and visibility in the problematic areas.
It claims to have been told that CCTV would be an infringement of the Human Rights Act – stating that every member of the public has “a right to respect for their private and family life”.
Nick Hodgson, the head of property services for the district council, said: “The council was advised that the use of CCTV could contravene the Human Rights Act.
“We also took advice from the police, who indicated the use of CCTV would not aid the legal process and was unlikely to help identify offenders.
“CCTV is only one of a number of measures to combat anti-social behaviour.”
But the revelations angered local residents. Angela Pitman, a mother-of-two from Dartmouth, said: “It’s disgusting that the council prefer to think of the criminals and their human rights rather than ours.
“What about us, the people who live their lives by the law, who are the victims of anti-social behaviour nearly on a day-to-day basis?”