Page last updated at 13:04 GMT, Wednesday, 18 November 2009

'Hidden CCTV' installed in homes

CCTV camera - generic
CCTV cameras will help monitor anti-social behaviour, the council says

A south London council has installed CCTV cameras in two residential homes to keep an eye on the street.

Croydon Council said the two cameras, not visible from the street, were installed to get the "evidence" police need to tackle anti-social behaviour.

The £1,000 cameras are part of a pilot which, if successful, will be rolled out in several areas.

Anti-CCTV group Big Brother Watch said the cameras would create a "culture of fear and mistrust" in the area.

Law enforcement 'failure'

The cameras, which were installed last month in different areas of the borough, are linked to a laptop computer and can be accessed online by police and local authority officials around-the-clock.

A spokesperson for the council said: "The equipment is not for people to spy on their neighbours, it is to help us, residents and the police to get the evidence they need to stop anti-social behaviour.

"It is not accurate to say that it is being used to spy on neighbours because one of them is being used to film a group of teenagers, some from outside the borough, who have been causing problems in one area."

Alex Deane, director of Big Brother Watch, said: "People accept these cameras into their homes because they are afraid.

"The council might be installing them with the best intentions, but the end result is a culture of fear and mistrust driven by a failure on the part of the borough and the police to have proper law enforcement in this area."

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