Secret CCTV cameras fitted INSIDE people's homes to spy on neighbours outside

Daily Mail | November 18, 2009

Town halls are installing cameras inside suburban homes to spy on the neighbourhood.

The Big Brother tactic - which is allowed under the anti-terrorist Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act - is being used by Croydon council in South London to catch those suspected of 'anti-social behaviour'.

The CCTV cameras are placed inside the house of a willing resident, but trained on the street.

If deemed successful, the £1,000 cameras could be installed across the country to catch low-level offenders.

Charles Farrier, of the campaign group No-CCTV, said: 'There is no evidence they act as a deterrent and we should be concentrating on the root problem anyway and working to gel our communities.'

Simon Davies, of Privacy International, said: 'Unless the public are aware of where these cameras are, I believe this council should be taken to court for a breach of human rights.'

Critics say the scheme has echoes of the East German Stasi secret police, which recruited members of the public as spies.

The cameras cannot be seen from the street, and officials have refused to say in which areas they have been installed. Evidence gleaned from the cameras can be used to take people to court.

Croydon councillor Gavin Barwell said: 'We'll be working together with the police to put them to best use.'

But some local residents have backed the idea. Kirenna Chin, 30, said: ‘Louts use my hedge as a bouncy castle and urinate in my front garden. It's very intimidating. 
‘It's a fantastic idea to fit hidden CCTV. If they offered me one I would definitely take it.’

Croydon has one of London's most advanced CCTV networks.

The control room is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and there are 77 fixed cameras, a rapid-response mobile unit, and three wireless units.