Big Brother: UK Installs TV Cameras in School Bathrooms, Changing Rooms


Human Wrongs Watch

By RT* – Over 200 UK state schools have installed cameras in bathrooms and changing rooms to monitor students, a recent surveillance survey reported. British parents will likely be shocked by the study’s findings.

***An integrated systems unit |By: Kingrattus at en.wikipedia

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The survey is based on a freedom of information request conducted by Big Brother Watch, an anti-surveillance activist group. The group said they were shaken by the results, which was much higher and more extensive than expected.

The report “will come as a shock to many parents”, Nick Pickles, Director of Big Brother Watch said. “Schools need to come clean about why they are using these cameras and what is happening to the footage”.

– 47,806 cameras used in 2,107 schools
– 207 schools have 825 cameras in changing rooms and bathrooms
– 90% of schools use CCTV[1] cameras
– 54 UK schools have 1 camera or more per 15 pupils
– 106,710 CCTV cameras estimated in high schools and academies in England, Scotland and Wales.

[1] CCTV: Closed-Circuit Television

825 Cameras in 207 Schools

A total of 825 cameras were installed in the bathrooms and changing rooms of 207 different schools across England, Scotland and Wales, according to data provided by more than 2,000 schools.

It is unknown where the cameras are located in the bathrooms and changing rooms, who is watching the security footage and whether any pupils were recorded while changing.

Video recording in toilets or changing rooms is legal, but recommended only for exceptional circumstances, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) reported. The ICO is an independent authority in the UK, whose duties include promoting privacy.

Research also showed that the extent of CCTV use varied widely from school to school. “With some schools seeing a ratio of one camera for every five pupils,” the report said. “CCTV appears to be used as a quick fix to much more complex problems and issues that simply cannot be solved with passive surveillance.”

78 Percent of Crime Prevention Budget Spent on CCTV Installations

UK schools so unsafe that surveillance needed in the most private spaces?

Since the 1990s, the UK’s Home Office has spent 78 percent of its crime prevention budget on CCTV installations, and schools have likewise invested significant resources in their own surveillance equipment, the Big Brother Watch report said.

No significant research has been done into whether CCTV cameras actually lower crime rates.

Big Brother Watch was able to locate a single study by the French Institut D’ Aménagement Et D’Urbanisme, which concluded that theft and burglary continued to increase after the 2007 installation of CCTV in the Île-de-France region. A marginal reduction in disorderly incidents in schools was also reported.

‘Shocking’ Highlights

The Big Brother Watch report estimated that more than 100,000 cameras monitor students and teachers across Britain, with 90 percent of the schools surveyed acknowledging the use of some form of video surveillance.

Responses from 2,107 secondary schools showed that they used 47,806 cameras in total with more than half installed inside the schools. The Radclyffe School in Oldham surpassed all other schools in the survey, with 20 cameras total in bathrooms and changing rooms.

Sharon Holder, the GMB’s national officer, told Newsvine that her trade union was disgusted with the findings.

“Placing CCTV in school bathrooms poses a worrying development in school policy and raises a number of questions,” she said. “How many parents have given headteachers permission to film their child going to the toilet or having a shower? What happens to the film afterwards? How much discussion has there been on governing bodies and to what extent have councils and councilors had any input into these developments? What problems are the schools trying to solve?” (Ends). *Source: report published on 31 August 2012 by Russia Today (RT). Go to Original

Related:

The Class of 1984**

Based on data covering more than 2,000 secondary schools and academies, Big Brother Watch warns that there are more than 100,000 CCTV cameras in secondary schools and academies across England, Wales and Scotland.

With some schools seeing a ratio of one camera for every five pupils, more than two hundred schools using CCTV in bathrooms and changing rooms and more cameras inside school buildings as outside, the picture across the country will undoubtedly shock and surprise many, according to Big Brother Watch.

To put into context the number of cameras, our research earlier this year found there are currently at least 51,600 CCTV cameras controlled by 428 local authorities, it adds.

The report, which you can download here, warns that the Home Office’s proposed system of regulation for CCTV cameras is not fit for purpose, with the newly created position of Surveillance Camera Commissioner having no enforcement or inspection powers.

“This report highlights an issue that has not been subject to any real public debate and we hope by highlighting the scale of the situation a proper debate can now take place about not only how to regulate CCTV, but also why surveillance continues to increase unchecked when there is still no academic research that suggests it is having a positive impact.”

Key Recommendations

Big Brother Watch makes three key recommendations in the report, which are:

  1. The Home Office code of practice for CCTV cameras should apply to all publicly funded bodies
  2. The Surveillance Camera Commissioner must have the power to enforce the Code of Practice and penalties for breaching the code must be available
  3. The Government should commission an independent review of CCTV use in schools to explore the evidential basis upon which cameras have been installed. This should include ensuring any school using CCTV has appropriate policies in place so teachers and parents are fully aware of why surveillance is being used, when footage can be viewed and by who.

“The surveillance experiment of the past twenty years has failed to reduce crime or improve public safety, it adds. As schoolchildren across the country are now expected to accept surveillance for the formative years of their education, it is time for a different approach.” (Ends). **Source: Big Brother Watch. Go to Original.

***Image: an integrated systems unit |By: Kingrattus at en.wikipedia | Wikimedia Commons

2012 Human Wrongs Watch

One Comment to “Big Brother: UK Installs TV Cameras in School Bathrooms, Changing Rooms”

  1. Had heard a bit about this, Baher. Good to see the details that confirm what I suspected. My son especially liked the 9/11 article as he has agreed with that for years and was pleased to see that the writer was a person of note in US. Thanks, Gill

    Like

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