CCTV cameras divide opinion. On the one hand there are those people that believe that CCTV is bad because it is an infringement on a person’s privacy, while on the other hand, there are those that argue for its use in helping to prevent and to punish crime.
Privately owned cameras have certainly become an established part of business, with many premises using them to prevent shoplifting, theft, vandalism, and other crimes, but councils have become increasingly likely to turn their own cameras on and use them to pursue motorists that break any of a number of laws.
Surveillance cameras in towns and cities are most commonly used to capture drivers that use bus lanes, that park illegally, or that stop in boxed areas, but they can be used for much more, and the latest figures suggest that more councils are using cameras in this way, and that considerably more drivers are receiving fines for motoring offences having been caught by an overhead CCTV camera. Experts have said that the most surprising thing is that so many drivers believe that they can still get away with committing driving infringements, despite the escalating number of cases where people have been caught in this very way.
In 2015, 44 councils have issued fines that have arisen as a result of the use of CCTV cameras and recorded footage, compared to just 25 in 2012. 768 cameras are now being used in this way, resulting in just under £40m of fines having been issued already this year. Glasgow alone has issued £4m of fines to drivers, but it seems that many car owners are unaware or unhappy with the practice.
In one survey, 53% of respondents said that they were unaware that CCTV cameras could be and were being used in this way. While 41% said that they felt cameras were being used just to raise revenue for local councils, 24% said that they believed the practice was out and out wrong. For now, however, and with the escalating amount of money that is being generated, it seems unlikely that the practice will abate.