Closed Circuit Television

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18 January 1996.

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Photo of Mr David Rendel Mr David Rendel , Newbury 12:00, 18 January 1996

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to announce the allocation of the money announced in the Budget for closed circuit television. [7853]

Photo of David Maclean David Maclean Minister of State (Home Office)

Fifteen million pounds will be distributed in 1996–97 by means of a challenge competition. Bids for funding are to be received in the Home Office by 29 March 1996. My right hon. and learned Friend hopes to announce the results early in the summer.

Photo of Mr David Rendel Mr David Rendel , Newbury

In providing the second tranche of money for closed circuit television, will the Home Secretary give special consideration to district councils that were not given a slice of the first tranche but went ahead with their own schemes, paying for them with council tax money, and now wish to extend those schemes?

Photo of David Maclean David Maclean Minister of State (Home Office)

No, I will not give special consideration to those councils; I will give equal and fair consideration to all councils that may be considering add-on or bolt-on schemes to complement their existing systems. I appeal to councils, police forces, local businesses and partnerships to take advantage of the wonderful technology that is now at our disposal, prepare bids and present them before the end of March. All those bids will be judged objectively and fairly, and we hope to announce the winners by early summer.

Photo of Mr Andrew Rowe Mr Andrew Rowe , Kent Mid

Does my right hon. Friend accept that the results of CCTV in Maidstone are absolutely first-class? Will he pay tribute to the borough council for its principled refusal to allow any of the material collected on those cameras to be sold or made use of for any other purpose?

Photo of David Maclean David Maclean Minister of State (Home Office)

The Maidstone camera scheme is excellent, along with hundreds of others in the country. I agree with the council's stance; it is the Government's stance. We insist that any scheme which does not have a proper code of practice on how tapes are kept will not be given funding. I believe that the Association of Chief Police Officers has also come to that view with regard to any special film it may have of motorway incidents.

Photo of Mr Dale Campbell-Savours Mr Dale Campbell-Savours , Workington

The Minister will know that the public want their taxes to be spent on reducing crime. Why not invest considerably more in CCTV since we all know that it works? Are not many communities in Cumbria, which contains the Minister's constituency, demanding that?

Photo of David Maclean David Maclean Minister of State (Home Office)

The short answer is that we are investing considerably more. In CCTV technology alone, investment has ' gone from nothing two years ago, to £5 million last year, to £15 million in the coming year. There has also been investment in other police technology, such as the national automated fingerprint identification computer system and the Phoenix system. Investment in the police service alone has doubled in real terms since the Conservative party came to office and stands at £5.5 billion. That is investment in cutting crime and a successful police service, which is backed up by the best technology in the world.