Individual Rights versus Public Interest

Published: 09th August 2010
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It has been reported that the average citizen is caught on camera over three-hundred times per day. There are some people who are sceptical about the effectiveness of CCTV cameras lining our streets and in our local stores; but as there are approximately over 2.5 million CCTV cameras in the UK alone, it is important to understand if CCTV really can reduce crime.

As nice as it would be, you cannot stop crime. However, you can try to stop the criminals. While some people believe CCTV to be a breach of their civil rights, they are an effective way of protecting civilians. CCTV footage is undeniable when shown to a criminal as they have no choice but to plead guilty, this ultimately can take the culprits off the streets and placed in prison.

The nation was saddened when they learnt of the horrific murder of three-year old Jamie Bulger; without CCTV cameras the police may never have learnt that Jamie was abducted by two children and may have went in search of an adult. Thanks to the installation of one of the many CCTV cameras in the UK, these young criminals were sent to prison and justice was given to Jamie's family.

The Government admit that CCTV cameras are not the only viable action to stop crime related incidents; however, they are a start. There are many benefits to using CCTV systems such as controlling traffic flow, monitoring suspected offenders, tracing a missing person, catching a burglar, using footage as evidence in a criminal trial and monitoring potential security threats.

An individual's rights are balanced against the interest of the public. The government's CCTV systems are required to follow a code of practice in order to ensure a citizen's rights and comply with data protection; therefore a citizen is notified with a sign stating that CCTV is in operation.

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