£2million to be spent on 87 CCTV cameras in 19 towns

The NIO’s Policing and Justice Minister Paul Goggins, MP, has announced a £2million programme to erect 87 CCTV cameras across 19 town centres over the next few months. The first will be in Newtownards, but the other 18 towns are not listed. According to Paul Goggins

“These new CCTV cameras will help reduce crime and the fear of crime. They will also play a vital role in tackling anti-social behaviour.”

[Any figures to back that claim, Paul? – Ed]More from the NIO statement

“I believe that CCTV has a crucial role to play in making our communities much safer. They will provide reassurance to both the business community and members of the public that they can go about their business and daily lives with confidence.

“This valuable tool will act as a deterrent, but it will also help to secure vital evidence to support investigations.

“The clear message that I would give today is that there is no room in our society for those engaged in crime and anti-social behaviour and the launch of the CCTV cameras across Northern Ireland will help ensure that offenders are brought to justice.”

  • Pounder

    IIRC there are CCTV cameras all over Belfast City Centre and they’ve been very little of a deterant. Frankly I feel the money would be better spent on more visible policing at times when crime is usually high, i.e. Friday and Saturday nights.

  • myselfalone

    I believe that under the Dunclug Area Plan in Ballymena put forward by DSD earlier this year cctv was very much near the top of the list. I believe it is only to protect residents from the fear of crime as opposed to actual crime. In other words to protect them from themselves. These schemes are rubbish. Waste of public money.

  • fair_deal

    Coming to a town near you soon from PSNI productions

    “We don’t need foot patrols we have CCTV coverage.”
    “The camera wasn’t working.”
    “There was no one watching the cameras.”
    “We can’t identify them.” – Who’d have thought a hoodie/baseball cap/scarf could thwart modern technology
    “Why prevent some poor soul getting seven shades of shite knocked out of them when you can watch it in technicolour in a nice warm station”

    Plus the never-ending remakes of:
    “We need the communities help.”
    “We need more resources”

  • RSR

    hopefully they’ll also provide the money need to run them, i know that in my town they put in CCTV but the funding wasn’t there to run it so they just sit there doing nothing.

  • Harry

    Since Goggins is so keen to expand upon the subject of CCTV perhaps he could give us his thoughts on the running of face-recognition technology in real-time with them, or the use of directional microphones for voice recording again run in real-time against a database of voice files (more distinctive than a fingerprint apparently) or the use of camera technology that can penetrate clothing such as hoodies to scan the face underneath or the reading of iris and retinal features remotely of those walking down the street – all of which technology is either onstream or coming onstream shortly. Or perhaps he’d like to give us his thoughts on why the UK has instigated a policy of recording and keeping on record the movements of every car in the country via speed-cameras as a matter of everyday normality. Or perhaps he’d like to share his opinion on the nature of conformity and how it is imposed upon those who feel they are being watched, or indeed on the nature of power in general in the sense of how those who are watched feel automatically, if unconsciously, depowered while those who do the watching, especially unseen, are empowered. His views on how CCTV is a material manifestation in the modern era of the all-seeing all-powerful God of past days would also be appreciated (and we all know the oppression to which such very wordly theologies were put). A brief resumé of Foucault’s analysis of the structure, operation and effects of the Panopticon in Discipline and Punish and how it relates to the spread of CCTV wouldn’t go amiss either.

    Or does Goggins’ consideration of these things extend to one soundbite on Sky news and no further?

  • Hmm….

    Having been mugged in full view of a set of cameras one night, I can only offer a sceptical hmm… here (and to add insult to injury, a landrover even cruised past mid-mugging…).

  • Ask the good burghers of Hackney, the most CCTVed spot in the known galaxy.

    It is claimed (and I take no side here) that crime in the Borough is down 28% in three years, that CCTV-coverage was responsible for 200 arrests in the last year, and for the recovery of 26 stolen cars. Local councillors are queuing up to have more cameras installed on their patches, and local opinion seems in favour.

    Just an observation, you understand.

    My reading of the London local press suggests two main areas of complaint:
    [1] that the coverage is intermittent, and so never sees the assault/offence in question; but
    [2] that it is too effective in catching illegal parking, use of bus-lanes, and other motoring misdemeanours.

  • Rory

    Any budding young entrepreuners, a la Delboy, would be well advised to obtain an early list of the towns targeted and get around them on market days with a barrow load of rip-off designer hoodies. An increase in the sale of this stylish garment is the one sure-fire guaranteed outcome of the widespread introduction of cctv in any area.

  • Harry

    Currently in Dublin CCTV is in every bus, DART, bar, restaurant, shop, bank, train station and shopping centre. It is in the foyer of most office blocks if not throughout the offices themselves. I know of one instance where CCTV is in every classroom of an English language school and I have seen CCTV throughout the corridors of a residential block of apartments. I have come across one instance of a shop in Rathmines which not only CCTV’s its premises but also records audio. I have also come across a taxi with a camera which takes periodic photos of its punters.

    It will take relatively little to network all of these cameras together to a central database, a bit of wireless technology and some work on a secure connection and hey presto – at some future point when deemed ‘necessary’ for let’s say security reasons and that’s it, total surveillance. This could be implemented as we speak, the technology is already in place.

    Is this wise? I understand that people seem to feel such a sense of fear that in general they seem to welcome it on the ‘if you’ve nothing to hide you’ve nothing to fear’ principle. But I repeat, is this wise? Whatever happened to concepts of privacy? Or innocent until proven guilty, as opposed to innocent but possibly guilty?

    This is serious.