May 23, 2009
Earlier this month, a study in the UK concluded that CCTV surveillaance does not have a significant impact on crime. “The review of research into the effectiveness of cameras found they have only a ‘modest’ impact on crime levels,” reported the Birmingham Post. In 2008, a report by UK Police Chiefs concluded that only 3% of crimes were solved by CCTV.
John Catt, a Brighton pensioner, discovered London’s CCTV system, specifically the Automatic Number Plate Recognition system (ANPR), has a more practical use — to track and trace people who disagree with the government. “John Catt found himself on the wrong side of the ANPR system. He regularly attends anti-war demonstrations outside a factory in Brighton, his home town,” reports the BBC. During an antiwar protest in Sussex, police put a “marker” on Catt’s car and he was added to a terrorist “hotlist.” Catt was pulled over by an anti-terror unit in London.
“I was threatened under the Terrorist Act. I had to answer every question they put to me, and if there were any questions I would refuse to answer, I would be arrested. I thought to myself, what kind of world are we living in?” Catt told the BBC.
Under Britian’s Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, it is legal for the government to surveil the movement and communication of individuals suspected of involvement in terrorism.
Sussex police would not talk about Catt’s case, according to the BBC.