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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 May 2007, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
'Orwellian' society
CCTV camera
Is it hard to smile for these cameras?
Ian Readhead, Deputy Chief Constable of Hampshire Police, interviewed for the BBC One Politics Show, has warned about the consequences of CCTV cameras and the retention of DNA evidence.

Mr Readhead says that CCTV cameras in Stockbridge, in his county, Hampshire, had little benefit: "I'm struggling with seeing the deployment of cameras in our local villages as being a benefit to policing.

"I understand why the local public say this is what we want, but I'm really concerned with what happens to the product of these cameras... and what comes next?

"If it's in our villages," he says, "are we really moving towards an Orwellian situation with cameras on every street corner? I really don't think that's the kind of country that I want to live in."

On the retention of DNA evidence he says: "My concern is this - we are in a society at the moment where the police have the power that if they arrest a 15-year-old for a recordable offence we can retain their DNA and their finger prints."

But would this information be retained for life?

Police ops room
Do you know how much you are watched every day?

"For life," he continues. "Unless the exceptional case can be made which could show that we shouldn't go down that route, for example, that no crime was actually committed.

"Now my real worry is this - 15 years from now we are still holding that DNA and that arrest information - should we be doing that?

"Is it right that that may impede that person - who's never been arrested again - from getting a job?

"I'm not sure that sits comfortably with meż I don't think the police should be the ones who regulate it and the telling point is - just how powerful do you want your police to be?"

Where does it end?

Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, also interviewed in the programme, says:

"Do we want micro CCTV cameras hidden in lamp posts - do we want microphones associated with those do we want overhead drones circling over head recording what peoples activities are?

"Do we want RFID chips embedded in people's cloths so that every time we go into a shop people know who we are, they know what our shopping preferences are, then we ask some really searching questions about profiling now we know that the commercial sector know from our habits they know what sort of books we like to read what holidays we like to take.

"Do we want the same approach to be taken by social services, by education, by the police..? I think again there are some really important questions to be asked there."

The Politics Show Sunday 20 May 2007 at 12:00 BST on BBC One.

Ian Readhead, Deputy Chief Constable of Hampshire Police raises his concerns

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