Suffolk ‘under surveillance’ from 761 CCTV cameras, says new report

SUFFOLK is monitored by a network of 761 CCTV cameras, installed and maintained at a cost of more than �4.5m, according to a new report.

It reveals that Suffolk's County Council and seven borough and district authorities have spent �4,511,374 on CCTV coverage and monitoring since 2007.

Waveney District Council has spent the most, with the bill for its 40 cameras totalling �1,467,240, while Suffolk County Council has the highest number of cameras at 313 – costing �684,003.

The civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, which released the figures in a report called The Price of Privacy, says Britain had an 'out-of-control surveillance culture' funded with huge sums of money that would be better spent on frontline officers.

But a Suffolk County Council spokesman said: 'We are confident that we have got the level of CCTV surveillance right in Suffolk.

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'CCTV makes a positive contribution to helping to combat crime in the county and helps to ensure Suffolk residents feel safe in their communities.'

A Suffolk police spokesman said CCTV was an 'extremely effective tool' for investigating, detecting and deterring crime.

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She said: 'CCTV footage can also help the police and our partners identify and address any issues that affect the quality of life in Suffolk's neighbourhoods.'

In December, a 19-year-old man was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail for the rape of a 51-year-old woman in Ipswich.

The spokesman added: 'The viewing of CCTV to help secure this outcome was vital to the investigation, and the result demonstrated what a useful tool CCTV can be, assisting police to solve this and many other different types of crime.'

Nick Pickles, Big Brother Watch director, claimed CCTV was doing little to improve public safety but had made the country's cities the most watched in the world.

He said: 'Surveillance is an important tool in modern policing but it is not a substitute for policing. In too many cities across the country every corner has a camera but only a few ever see a police officer. Despite millions of cameras, Britain's crime rate is not significantly lower than comparable countries that do not have such a vast surveillance state.'

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