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Secret Britain: Majority want access to state's CCTV surveillance feeds

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Secret Britain: Majority want access to state's CCTV surveillance feeds

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities

Secret Britain: Majority want access to state's CCTV surveillance feeds Secret Britain: Majority want access to state's CCTV surveillance feeds

Nearly two thirds of the British public would like some sort of access to the recordings made by police and council CCTV cameras, research has found.

According to a poll by CCTV.co.uk, 64% of people believe that British taxpayers, who fund publicly-placed devices, should be able to monitor cameras' output through live web services.

CCTV.co.uk spokesman Jonathan Ratcliffe said: "There's now huge demand to see and access what we're paying for, and the public feels they have the right to watch the same images that the police and local authorities access."

According to the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), there were 4-6 million CCTV cameras watching the UK's population as of July 2013. However, the estimate includes cameras that aren't trained on the public specifically, such as those in storerooms.

Some of the 1,345 people polled said that they wanted access to CCTV feeds to 'hold the police to account'. Other reasons included to 'help the police to spot crime and anti-social behaviour' and 'to watch local areas on cameras like a webcam'.

Others said that they wanted access to 'see how busy town is before heading out' and to 'look for friends'.

However, 23% of those surveyed said that they wouldn't support public access to CCTV, citing concerns over privacy fears, straining police services and that it would 'attract ghouls'.

Jonathan Ratcliffe said: "Privacy fears are an entirely valid concern, but this has to be weighed against the fact that these cameras are already being accessed by the authorities, for which the same arguments have already been addressed.

"Also, ghoulishness is one that police already know about, and is dealt with sensitively with traffic cameras that are already visible on the internet. The stream is pulled whenever there's a serious incident, meaning that the public is spared unpleasant details."

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