Page last updated at 10:56 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 11:56 UK

Junior school defends toilet CCTV

A junior school head teacher has defended the use of CCTV in toilet blocks in an effort to deter vandals.

Len Holman, from Angel Road Junior School in Norwich, said pupils had asked for the cameras to protect refurbished toilet blocks.

But the human rights organisation Liberty condemned the measure.

Its director Shami Chakrabarti said the cameras would only serve to prepare children for "a lifetime of pretty intrusive surveillance".

What are we saying to [the children] about their dignity and their personal privacy?
Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The state of our privacy in Britain, and the currency and value of it, is rather worse than even I had thought if we now believe the only way to teach seven to 11 year olds to respect property, to behave well, is to put CCTV in the toilets.

"In other words, to teach them 'behave well for fear of being caught' and to prepare them for a lifetime of pretty intrusive surveillance.

"What are we saying to them about their dignity and their personal privacy?"

'Toilet pride'

Mr Holman told the programme the cameras were installed "four to five years ago" at the request of the pupils' school council.

"There were some isolated incidents of vandalism, occurring mainly because pupils of course can't be monitored by adults in toilet areas.

"So the pupils at the school saw that there was available space on the security system operating in the school and asked whether TV cameras could be installed.

"It's just to cover the sink areas in order to prevent further vandalism to the toilets which they are so proud of."

On Tuesday it emerged a south London school had installed CCTV in classrooms to avoid disputes between teachers and pupils and to prevent theft.

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