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The Laz Word: Cameras, cameras everywhere

As bid for a whopping 124 extra CCTV cameras is put in for Lime Street Station, Larry Neild says 'Don’t look now, you're being watched'

Published on November 18th 2008.


The Laz Word: Cameras, cameras everywhere

EVERYWHERE you look in Liverpool there are CCTV cameras, zooming in on us at every corner. Are we all participants in a follow-up to the Truman Story, the zany film that followed the lives of people in a make-believe world? Or was it make believe?

Leafing through the recent planning applications lodged with the city council is one from Network Rail. They want to install, wait for it, 124 CCTV cameras at Lime Street Station. I’ll tell you what, that’ll give those invisible skate-boarders a run for their money. They will be able to ban nose-picking, backside scratching and even tut-tutting when a train is late.

None of us are giving permission for people to scan our every move. We are
reaching saturation point where the number of cameras is a joke

You would not imagine there is enough of Lime Street station to accommodate such a large numbers of spies-in-the-roof cameras.

Liverpool already has one of the highest numbers of CCTV cameras per head of population in the country, if not the world.

Why not put signs at the city boundaries: “Smile – you are entering Candid Liverpool. Get up to any mischief and you’re on a Channel Five TV show next year.”

The usual battle cry is that people who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear from wall-to-wall cameras. But we are going camera crazy.

There is a human rights and civil liberty issue here as well. None of us are giving permission for people to scan our every move. We are reaching saturation point where the number of cameras is a joke.

Britain currently has more than 4.2 million cameras zooming on on us – that’s more than a fifth of the world’s CCTV cameras. It works out at one camera for every 14 of us.

The cameras used today are not those old, fuzzy-pictured black and white images, they are high quality, all-zooming full colour.

As the civil rights organisation Liberty says: “In the past decade the Home Office has spent 78 per cent of its crime prevention budget on CCTV, before assessing its effectiveness in deterring or detecting crime.

”The technology is becoming more sophisticated. Cameras are combined with databases using facial recognition technology to scan and automatically identify people's faces in crowds. 'Smart CCTV' is used in Tube stations to identify patterns of behaviour that suggest a crime or suicide attempt is about to occur.”

Earlier this year Liberty also expressed concern about the growing number of householders installing cameras at their homes. While these cameras can check home security, some can also look at public areas, such as parks and footpaths.

It would be interesting to see how many potential crimes or crimes in progress are sorted thanks to CCTV monitoring. You kind of get the impression they are sometimes useful as evidence in court. But if we are to have cameras I want them to be used to stop me getting my head kicked in, or to stop car thieves in their tracks.

When you step out today don’t forget to smile and wave – you will appear on hundreds of CCTV screens.

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12 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

eleanorRigsbyNovember 18th 2008.

And there's me goin out in me rollers and pyjamas. I won't be doing that again in a hurry

WagNovember 18th 2008.

We just laugh when the "provocative" ranter comes on because their ludicrous and cliched "baiting" won't get anyone going. They should ring up Pete Price if that's what they want.

m. t. a.November 18th 2008.

Mark F. has forgotten to mention Vera Lynn singing heartfelt ditties to returning troops disillusioned by 5 years of War against Hitler.What about the kids with no shoes, TB, and rats attacking babies in their prams too?Adherence to such mawkish self pity is exactly why Liverpool has become a 4th rate city in the eyes of England.

AnonymousNovember 18th 2008.

And what about councils using cameras to spy on employees?

striker44November 18th 2008.

After that remark I rest may case.Why do scousers only ever resort to violence and death threats rather than logical argument?Lets all remember Heysel Stadium, Hillsborough, and Jamie Bulger.Scousers? Animals who belong in prison.

Charlotte StreetNovember 18th 2008.

Cameras don't arrest violent thugs though, particularly when the employees of the private companies operating them have them trained elsewhere, such as on ladies’ bedroom or bathroom windows, as we keep reading in the press.

razorbillNovember 18th 2008.

Striker had better watch it. Show your face and it will be the last thing you ever do on merseyside. we know how to shut the mouths of scumbags who hate our city.Keep away if you value your life.

Liverpool LouNovember 18th 2008.

When I first became aware that there were cameras in Lime St Station I was quite pleased. There was one in the lift, and one just outside, in what is a very deserted corner of the station. There were cameras on the platforms. I felt that this was a good thing because as a female travelling after dark it made you feel safer, and felt that the purpose of these cameras was to promote personal safety. Now, however with the escalation of these cameras, safety is obviously not the main priority, and Big Brother is on the loose! And don't you just want to choke those "if you've nothing to hide you've nothing to fear" folk - power corrupts, and all that...

Penny LaneNovember 18th 2008.

Did that Steve Hurst chap not know about this when he was going around leafletting dressed as Mr Blobby? Allegedly.

striker44November 18th 2008.

Sometimes the truth hurts. Tough love is the best kind of all and facing facts is always the wisest thing to do.Liverpool has never fully been integrated into England. It cannot identify with normal people and prefers to live in some dream that it is american or irish or anything else that seems artificially glamourous.Liverpool is and always has been a city of underclass and dispossessed.Accept this fatal inferiority and start changing it not relishing it.Only in Liverpool do they make statues to drug addicted popstars who moved out at the first opportunity to better themselves.

mark f.November 18th 2008.

Hang on a minute here.Calm down Calm down.Dont forget that Liverpool has been systematically abused for the last 100 years and its hard won wealth stripped by Tory facists and greedy multinationals. Feisty scousers survived the bombing, the holocaust of inner city redevelopment,the tragedy of massive job losses at the docks, shipbuilding and satellite industries.Less brave people would never have stood up to Thatcher and her goons in support of that truly great man Derek Hatton. (if anyone deserves a knighthood from labour it is Derek).Liverpool does have problems of poor education, urban blight, low aspirational children and currently a plague of teenage venereal disease but plucky scousers still keep smiling and winning the hearts of the nation with their jokes and songs.England needs Liverpool. The reverse is not so true - we are an American vibrant and colourful city.

Joe tynanNovember 18th 2008.

Why cameras? Think drugs, car theft, mugging, robbery,rape,child abuse,asbo thugs, alcoholism,gang violence and racial attacks.These things are all part of self pity city Liverpool.Thatcher was right when she said it was a pity Liverpool couldnt be flushed into the Irish Sea with all the rest of Englands sewage.I personally would not install cameras but let these animals tear themselves apart.

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