Around the World

These articles feature a comparative look at policing across the globe. 

Around the World 6.1

Sources: “Report: London no safer for all its CCTV cameras,” by Ian Evans, February 22, 2012. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved from “One surveillance camera for every 11 people in Britain, says CCTV survey,” by David Barrett, July 10, 2013. The Telegraph. Retrieved from

“London is considered the most spied-on city in the world,” but according to some reports, there has been little change in the crime rate since closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras were widely installed in the 1980s.

A report from the British Security Industry Association (BSIA)—considered the most comprehensive study to date—estimates that there are close to 6 million CCTV cameras, or 1 for every 11 British citizens. Over 400,000 of those are in schools. In one half-mile stretch of a main road, there are approximately “70 cameras on display on lampposts, sides of buildings and in underground and mainline train stations.”

Others disagree and believe that the CCTV cameras are important to preventing or solving crime. A BSIA spokesperson claimed that 95% of Scotland Yard murder cases used footage from the cameras as evidence. In addition, the cameras have other uses such as identifying locations of “traffic congestion and other ways like the time they helped rescue someone from the Thames when they had fallen in the river.”

Critics of the camera system reject the invasion of privacy. A spokesperson for a civil rights and privacy watchdog organization called the surveillance “out of control.” He added, “This report should be a wake up call that in modern Britain there are people in positions of responsibility who seem to think ‘1984’ was an instruction manual.”