Typical re-deployable camera
The first problem is that I don't know where all the CCTV cameras will be. Apparently there will be seven masts installed, with a total of three redeployable cameras between them all.
I know that one mast is planned for the corner of Berridge Road and Burford Road, since I live in the area covered by this camera and was thus "lucky" enough to be asked for my views on it. Unfortunately, the map included with the letter only shows my most local proposed mast, so I have no idea where the rest will be.
But I have a strong suspicion that another will be somewhere on Ewart Road, since I think I saw the same "Fakeon" (aka. pretend cops) team posting things through doors there on Saturday.
If you are living near a proposed camera site, chances are you'll probably have heard about it by now. Please let us know where the other sites are planned for!
Even if you haven't been asked for your views, I doubt it would do any harm to express your objections as another concerned Forest Fields resident. The addresses to contact appear below. I believe actual pieces of paper tend to register a little bit better in these kind of matters, but email is a reasonable second best choice, and phoning the least best option since it can more easily be ignored or misrepresented.
Now, I'm sure you already know that numerous studies carried out by the police and government themselves have found that CCTV has little to no effect on crime in residential areas - at best moving it into adjacent areas and helping to solve a tiny percentage of total incidents. The police seem to want to improve this ratio by installing more CCTV cameras, literally everywhere, with better quality images. Because of course, it's always easier to excuse the investment in more hi-tech spying equipment (while sidestepping the real issues of poverty, tremendous imbalance of wealth, erosion of local facilities, non-accountability of those in authority etc.) with the justification of "if only we had better cameras and more of them, we'd be able to prevent more crimes". (Did I mention terrorism?)
Why not just admit that CCTV is already highly intrusive and oppressive, and does little in the way of protecting the public from... well, anything really!? Beats me - but then I'm not hell-bent on creating a total surveillance society or "managing" people!
But my personal loathing of CCTV cameras aside, my main objection here on Burford Road is that we simply don't need it! There is very little in the way of any discernible crime or so-called "anti-social behaviour" (ie. kids hanging out with their mates, let alone lurking muggers) around here, and therefore I see no justification whatsoever for installing a CCTV camera here.
This part of Burford Road is absolutely not a crime hotspot - so why does the council want to spy on what goes on here?
"In case an incident happens" is NOT a good enough reason to justify blanket surveillance of OUR community.
We are fortunate in Forest Fields (and especially on Burford Road, in my experience) to live in an area where people are still friendly and talk to each other on the street. A sense of community is a pretty valuable and rare thing these days, and once it's lost, it can't easily be replaced. Long may it continue around here!
CCTV will change our (and others) perception of where we live for the worse. I find it oppressive and intrusive, and despite having been mugged twice in my life, being watched doesn't make me feel any safer. If anything, CCTV makes me feel like I'm walking down a street where trouble is inevitable – where community doesn't exist.
If you're the sort of person who cares about property prices, you can also guarantee that the presence of CCTV on your street will knock a few grand off the price of the houses there, by making potential buyers think it's a dodgy area. (Whether that assumption then goes on to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, is perhaps something else that needs to be asked!)
So, on Saturday I printed of 100 copies of a friendly little note (which was much less ranty than this Indymedia posting) and posted it through 100 front doors in the vicinity of the proposed camera site near my house. I have since had several other households let me know that they will be writing to express their objections, so you never know, it may actually work!
Perhaps people near the other proposed camera sites might like to do the same, and maybe we can nip this entire nightmare in the bud right now?
However, I don't expect the council pen-pushers to back down without a fight, which is why I think it could perhaps be most productive at this point to focus on delaying things - by calling for more time for public consultation, if nothing else - so that we'll have a bit longer to get more people on board and organise against this anti-social attack on our community.
February 2nd is really not far away - and I'm sure that too, is a deliberate plan of our "Neighbourhood Management" overlords, since we couldn't possibly be allowed long enough to organise any sort of REAL public consultation, could we!?
But here's hoping we succeed, and that Forest Fields remains the fantastic little village we've come to know and love!
The address to contact:
Area 4 Neighbourhood Management Team
The Mary Potter Centre
Phone: 0115 8838469
Fax: 0115 8838471
Text of the letter that came through my door:
Date: 22nd January 2009
Before we install CCTV, we need to consult with residents who will have a mast, and therefore possibly a camera, near their home.
Please would you read the attached information and complete the form and return it to us, or telephone or e mail us if you have any objections or concerns by Monday 2nd February 2009.
Area 4 Neighbourhood Management Team
CLOSED CIRCUIT TELEVISION
REDEPLOYABLE CCTV CAMERAS
Nottingham City Council has endorsed an approach which will see investment in re-deployable CCTV cameras across the City in order to help tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in the City’s neighbourhoods.
There will be 7 columns installed across the Berridge ward. However, there are 3 cameras for the whole police division, which will be redeployed according to priorities.
It is proposed to carry out the following works:-
• The installation of a CCTV column.
• The facility for a re—deployable colour Pan Tilt and Zoom Camera to be mounted on this column when required.
• The approximate position of the column is shown on the attached map.
The works will involve:-
• Digging of the road/pavements to install foundations for the camera columns.
• Digging of the road/pavements to install electrical cables.
• Provision of safety barriers where work is being carried out.
Who will decide when to install the re-deployable camera?
These CCTV units will be deployed on a rotational basis. The Police will prioritise the deployment of these CCTV units to assist in the prevention and detection of crime and anti- social behaviour.
It must be understood that whilst the column will be permanent the camera will be installed on a temporary basis to assist in combating anti-social behaviour and improving community safety.
What will the benefits be?
These cameras can be moved to where they are most needed. They will produce good quality images and will be used to provide evidence if an incident takes place.
Who will monitor the cameras?
The cameras will be monitored from the City’s Surveillance and Monitoring Control Room and if the operators are alerted to an incident of crime they will notify the Police to respond to the incident.
Who can I contact if I have any concerns whilst the works are underway?
Inspector Gurmit Kaur
Radford Rd Police Station Local Area Commander
0115 9670999 ext 4460
Area 4 Neighbourhood Management Team