The Most Closely Watched Nation

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When you are next walking through any of London’s Underground stations, take a moment to scan your eyes upwards to the ceiling and you shall see them. Some will be obvious in their rectangular white housing, others disguised behind black domes.

There are more than 6,000 CCTV cameras across London’s Tube network, which transport bosses say will rise to 12,000 over the next five years.

Even outside the confines of the London Underground they are present. That space six feet above your head – the CCTV Zone – where the cameras are nestled, growing like mould on jam. Peering at bank doorways and over cash machines, looking down the aisles of your local supermarket, tucked into the ceiling at the local newsagent’s.

Britain is "CCTV Nation". We have more of them than anywhere else in the world. How many more, nobody can say. It has often been claimed that there are four million CCTV cameras in Britain, and that we are likely to be caught on camera 300 times a day, but even the academic that came up with these figures admits that he doesn’t know for sure.

Ask the Austrians if they think CCTV is a good thing, and only 24% of them say yes. Ask the British, and 90% give the thumbs up. We like to be watched. We want to be watched.

To understand why CCTV is widely seen as a "Very Good Thing" we have to go back 13 years, to the murder of Jamie Bulger. Until then CCTV cameras had been rare in Britain. When the abduction happened and we got these incredible grainy images of the toddler being led away, the cameras became a major player in an horrific event.

This incident spurred officials within the Crime Prevention Unit of the Home Office to look at what CCTV could do for them. Between 1994 and 1997, £45m of government funds was pledged to implementing CCTV projects across the UK, all of which was matched with local money.

Since then, Labour has spent £170m.

Whether you are a fan of CCTV or not, it isn’t going to go away, and with the introduction of affordable digital CCTV systems and software, the number of CCTV cameras on the streets is destined to increase.

If you are interested in protecting your property with CCTV, why not contact CCTV Surveillance for information and advice of suitable digital CCTV systems.

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