Skeptics in the Pub – William Webster – The Myths and Realities of CCTV in the UK

Thursday 20 June 2013, 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
At: Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG


Banksy - One Nation under CCTV
It is often said that there are more Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) / video surveillance cameras per person in the UK than in any other country in the world. The UK’s ‘love affair’ with surveillance cameras has been fuelled by the widespread belief that they are effective in the ‘fight against crime’, including the ‘war on terror’, and because they foster a sense of safety in those being surveyed. The UK is therefore portrayed as the world leader in the provision of CCTV cameras and systems in public places – and the policy processes and governance structures associated with their introduction and deployment have been copied by many countries.

In this discussion Dr William Webster of Stirling University will review the key features of the CCTV revolution in the UK and will question some of the key assumptions underpinning not only the deployment of CCTV in the UK, but also their subsequent transfer around the world. The assumptions that: CCTV works, that the cameras are popular and that they are ubiquitous will be challenged and refined. In doing so, the presentation will question the logic of the CCTV revolution and consequently the rationality of public policy-making processes.

Dr Webster is the Programme Director of the MBA in Public Service Management programme at the University of Stirling and the Chair of the Living in Surveillance Societies (LiSS) COST research programme, a 4 year European multidisciplinary social science research programme involving over 150 academics in 26 countries.

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