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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 November 2006, 18:51 GMT
The pros and cons of being watched
To some, Britain's millions of CCTV are too intrusive; whilst to others they have the power to save lives and catch the most violent criminals.

Here we speak to a victim whose attackers were brought to justice because of CCTV, and one man who is sick of being watched.


Ian Brown was the victim of an unprovoked attack by youths at a bus station in Huyton, Merseyside in September 2000.

I was heading off to uni the week after, me and all my friends were going away. We went into Liverpool for a few drinks to celebrate and to say our goodbyes.

I was the only person heading back to Huyton, so I went on the night bus. I was slightly inebriated. I live five minutes around the corner, but I just sat in the bus stop.

Ian Brown
Ian Brown was badly hurt in the attack

At the bus stop two 'scally' lads came up to me and started talking, but I was more concerned about how I was feeling. We talked, they ended up walking way, then they had a little conversation and came back. I had my head down.

One of them kicked me and my head went flying back. I fell onto the floor. I'd broken my nose. They were kicking and punching me, then stole my wallet. I stumbled home.

The bus stop was literally round the corner from the police station. They had been watching on CCTV. The police rushed around but were a little bit too late to catch the scallies or me.

But the CCTV was shown on the local news Channel One and there was a two-page spread in the Liverpool Echo, with the best frames. It was from that newspaper article that they were identified. Both were jailed.

Bad state

There was absolutely no chance they would have been caught without CCTV.

I did go to university the next week. But I was just very anti-social, I was in a bad state - I had a terrible-looking face. You come from Liverpool and its 'look at his face' and the old stereotypes. I ended up not finishing university.

I've been in that bus stop a lot of times since, I know there's cameras and it does make you feel safer. You offset that with the fact that sometimes it is not going to stop bad things from happening.

Yes, there's a lot of cameras, but I've a very simplistic view - what have people got to be worried about? The only reason you wouldn't want to be watched is if you are doing something you shouldn't.

I can see the other point of view, but I think CCTV is a good thing.


I think there's too much surveillance. I wouldn't say I'm a conspiracy theorist but it feels like we're heading towards "1984".

I don't like the idea of being monitored with everything I do - even though I've got nothing to hide.

Obviously there are people who have got something to hide but do we really want to catch them by monitoring them all the time.

You shouldn't have to worry about someone watching what you're doing
Ian Morris

I think what kind of world would we live in when everything is monitored. You see Hollywood films where you can detect crime before it happens. It just doesn't fit in with the way that we should be.

I'm worried about the situation. It just leads to more fear and panic. I think in some circumstances it leads to less trust which leads to more problems for society.

The more surveillance and cameras that are brought in, the less trust there will be. It will mean an ever-decreasing circle.

We've got to realise the point that 99% of people are law abiding and get on with their life without any problem.

It just annoys me. You drive along the road and see cameras everywhere. Speed cameras are a different matter to cameras watching what everybody is doing all the time.

I think cameras are justified in places such as airports, police stations and banks, but it should be limited to that. In general you shouldn't have to worry about someone watching what you're doing.

I think a lot of younger people share my view. I think a lot of older people are worried about the world because they trust what they read in the papers, but I really don't see the world like that. The majority of people don't realise the world is a better place than it's made out to be.

I'm worried about the future. Where are we going to be in 10 or 15 years time? Are you going to have to have a microchip inserted?

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