Tuesday 13 May 2008

I'm Being Pursued by a Theme - Part 2

CCTV to monitor Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath is going to have CCTV cameras to act as a deterrent, the BBC story ran today. We already have them in our parks in East London. My photo set on Flickr (see link below) will hopefully highlight the sordid lengths that the authorities will go to make CCTV cameras just a tad more palatable to us all. How about corrupting the concept of public art (with input from local children) by commissioning a sculpture that is really just a housing for 2 large CCTV cameras? How sick is that?

The more I look at the sculpture - and I do a lot because it is on my way to work - the more angry I get. Personally, I think the debate that we seem to have lost over 15 years ago needs to be rejuvenated. Let's start with a slogan, how about: "Take the cameras down". And here is the argument: liberty takes precedence over crime prevention. We might even find that if we take our liberty more seriously, crime prevention will become less of a problem. (More on that idea another time. I need to understand what I'm thinking!).

4 million cameras? 3% crime prevention success rate? CCTV isn't working. They have invaded our public space and effectively removed it. Fun happens in places where we know we are not being watched and that leaves us in our homes - alone.

Rowenna Rowling, a Hampstead Heath regular, said on BBC London TV News this morning: "You come here to get away from it all, the crowds, noise, CCTV cameras and everything. It [CCTV] would be a terrible, terrible mistake."

I agree with Rowenna. Make London parks free of CCTV and give us back our public space.

My Flickr set of the Weaver's Fields Public CCTV Sculpture

BBC News Article