‘Big Brother’ claims on CCTV are dismissed

CCTV images from Glenrothes Bus Station
CCTV images from Glenrothes Bus Station

GLENROTHES is covered by ten ‘public space’ CCTV cameras it has emerged, reports MIKE DELANEY.

The ‘Gazette’ has discovered that there are three each at the Glamis and Glenwood shopping centres and two apiece at Cadham Neighbourhood Centre and the town’s Bus Station.

The revelation came in the wake of a survey by privacy campaigners, which they claimed showed an ‘overkill’ of the devices in Fife.

Big Brother Watch said the number of cameras deployed in the region outnumbered those in three English cities combined.

But, public agencies defended the use of the cameras and said the figure was misleading.

Council police, fire and safety committee chairman, George Kay, said: “Unfortunately, yet again, Big Brother Watch are not painting a true picture of the use of CCTV cameras in Fife, by implying the public are constantly under surveillance. 

“There are actually only 101 public space cameras run by Fife Community Safety Partnership in Fife.

“These cameras are monitored and cover 12 major town centre areas and have been proven to help in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour in our town centres.

“In the last three years alone we have seen crimes, offences of breach of the peace, urinating/defecating and petty assault fall by 61 per cent and crimes of vandalism and malicious mischief fall by 33 per cent.

“We are not interested in people going about their daily business.

“These systems are only used by specially-trained staff under the strictest conditions and assist in increasing police detection rates, reducing crime and enhancing public safety.”

He gave examples of how the cameras had helped police: trace a car involved in a hit and run; catch a man who gave alcohol to underage children; re-united a vulnerable pensioner with his wife after they became separated while out; and snare a young driver ‘donuting’ in his car in a public car park.

Last week, police issued images of two people they want to speak to as part of an inquiry into a fire at Tullis Russell late last year.

In addition to public cameras, there are other devices in Fife which are simply security cameras attached to schools, public buildings and in car parks.

They are not monitored and the videos they contain are only used as an aid to police in detecting any crime which has been committed.