Our crime rates are comparable with countries with very few cameras and Home Office funded research has concluded that the impact of CCTV on crime prevention is not significant.Despite this, the Home Office has spent a huge amount of its crime budget on CCTV over the last few decades.
As stated above, the ICO guidance is limited and barely scratches the surface.
A database of this magnitude raises real privacy concerns and requires strong regulation.
Until the passing of the Protection of Freedoms Act in May 2012 there was no legislation explicitly aimed at CCTV regulation.
This Act provides for a code of practice covering the use of surveillance cameras and the processing of images or other information obtained from them.
One particular innovation that uses CCTV cameras is ANPR.
ANPR, or Automatic Number Plate Recognition, usually consists of a camera linked to a number-plate reading device.
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) is a video surveillance technology which is used to monitor a variety of environments and activities.
While precise figures are hard to come by, it is estimated that Britain is monitored by as many as 5.9 million CCTV cameras, making us one of the most watched nations in the world. It is no longer restricted to private property, shops and city centres but is increasingly being rolled out in school classrooms, bars and pubs, and even swimming pool changing rooms.
The seriousness of this risk is exemplified by the case of two Merseyside council workers who were caught spying on a woman in her bathroom, even though the camera was not meant to film inside her home.
The Information Commissioner’s Office last updated its code of practice for using surveillance cameras in May 2015.
Some police forces admit that they will not use CCTV footage because of the time and costs involved.