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Thursday, 8 August, 2002, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
CCTV scheme 'is Europe's biggest'
Fife CCTV HQ
The cameras are being installed across the region
A crime camera system billed as the largest in Europe has been launched to cover eight Scottish towns.

The Fife scheme brings together almost 80 cameras which will be co-ordinated from a single control room.

The CCTV system was officially launched on Thursday at Fife Constabulary's headquarters in Glenrothes by Deputy Justice Minister Dr Richard Simpson.

It cost more than 1m to install and is described as the most geographically extensive in Europe by those behind the project.

Fife Constabulary headquarters
Fife Constabulary welcomed the scheme
The 78 cameras, in towns stretching from Dunfermline to St Andrews, are linked to the force's headquarters by fibre optic cables.

Fife Council Convenor Tom Dair said the state-of-the-art system was "a major investment in community safety".

He said research had found that many people had concerns about visiting Fife's main town centres, especially after dark.

A feasibility study had been carried out to see how the existing projects in Dunfermline, Leven and Kirkcaldy could be expanded across the Kingdom.

"We have a wonderful new system which will promote community safety in all eight town centres in a number of ways, not only impacting upon crime but also helping to deal with fear of crime," he said.

Fife's Chief Constable Peter Wilson said: "It is quite clear that the public feel a greater sense of confidence by the presence of CCTV.

Chief Constable Peter Wilson: "Sense of confidence"
"The fact that other communities in Fife are wanting to be included in any extension of the system is evidence of that.

"CCTV is an important crime-fighting tool and in Fife the opportunity for us to combine the camera system with number plate reading technology has already started to demonstrate its value."

The 1.37m project has been funded by Fife Council, Fife Constabulary, the Scottish Executive and businesses in the region.

However, human rights campaigners are worried about what they describe as the unchecked growth of CCTV cameras.

They say they are concerned that crime is not reduced by the approach, but is simply moved elsewhere.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland's Isabel Fraser
"The largest CCTV system in Europe"
See also:

12 Jul 02 | UK
12 Feb 01 | Scotland
17 Mar 00 | Scotland
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