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Cctv; Great Expectations, Minor Protection Final Paper: The Deployment And Failure Or Success Of Public Cctv Systems In The United Kingdom Against Crime, Terrorism And Overall Public Opinion

1942 words - 8 pages

Recent acts of terrorism are surprising unsuspecting nations all over the world, and it is not an act that will soon be outdated, but rather a new guerilla warfare that is gaining popularity among its supporters. In the early '90's the United Kingdom suffered violent terrorist attacks by the hands of the IRA, which used fear as its main tactic to disturb the lives of innocent people. In response to those attacks, the United Kingdom decided to implement a closed circuit security system of cameras in public places, with the hope of better securing their major cities against further terrorist acts.In 1994, 79 British cities were monitoring their central districts with a network of surveillance ...view middle of the document...

Investigators hoped that the tape within one bus that was bombed would reveal information about the bombers. Instead, they were disheartened to find that because of poor maintenance, the camera was not even working properly. A senior Yard source commented that it was, "...a big blow and a disappointment. If the cameras had been running we would have had pin-sharp close-up pictures of the person who carried out this atrocity." (Edwards/Hughes)Investigators spent hours reviewing the CCTV tapes that followed the bombers in their traveling about the city, and were looking for any suspects with a similar bag used by the London bombers to disguise the bombs. The strategy of reviewing tapes was not good enough in this case because it was useless in stopping the actual attack. Critics became infuriated after this news was revealed by British press, because they believe CCTV is only useful for giving us a front seat to witnessing mayhem. Also, critics of CCTV say it is idealistic to think that CCTV will catch terrorism before it happens, using the example of the London bombings to show that terrorism, due to it's unpredictable nature, cannot be stopped simply by cameras. When it comes to terrorism, a more pro-active approach is needed, and perhaps cameras can follow suspects, but that is about all they are capable of in protecting citizens going about their daily routines.As stated before, the CCTV was first deployed to stop terrorists, but statistics show that CCTV is not necessarily aiding in the capturing of terrorists, but rather its own citizens committing "opportunistic crimes." Although cameras have been very beneficial in stopping small crimes like shoplifting, burglary and purse snatching, about half of the United Kingdom's citizens remain skeptical, because they feel they are now the "terrorists", and an increase in fines, such as speeding tickets caught on camera, are really just the government's way of making more money off them.Advocates of the CCTV say that it is perfectly fine and actually helpful to place cameras in public spaces where citizens can be monitored and thus protected from criminals. The United Kingdom has invested a great amount of money placing cameras in all types of places like hotels, restaurants, stadiums, traffic lights, hospitals and schools.Although some people question their right to privacy, some countries like Scotland proudly pronounce their faith in the CCTV system;Strathclyde police in Scotland recently claimed a 75 per cent drop in crime following the installation of a £130,000 closed circuit TV system in Airdrie. Not only are people delighted because they are no longer afraid to go out shopping, say local police, but even criminals welcome the chance to prove their innocence by calling on evidence from the cameras. In King's Lynn, burglary and vandalism in the industrial estate has dropped to a tiny fraction of its original level. Crime in car parks has dropped by ninety percent. People say they feel...

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