Clause 29

Part of Protection of Freedoms Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:15 am on 26th April 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 11:15 am, 26th April 2011

That is a very good point. My hon. Friend supports what I am saying. Perception is important. It is also a fact that people understand what works in their communities. They know that CCTV makes a difference. They know that it makes them feel safer. They know that it prevents crime. As I have said before, what frustrates people is that sometimes the CCTV system is not as powerful or its images are not as clear as they hope. Their frustration comes from those facts, not that the CCTV system was there in the first place.

CCTV is important, and it needs to be covered by the Bill. No doubt the Minister will say that it is contained within clause 29, subsection whatever, and that, if read properly, it will mean exactly what the shadow Minister is trying to achieve through his amendment. However, our constituents consider CCTV to be extremely important. Alongside amendment 94 is amendment 95, which would add to the code potential improvements in public safety and crime reduction, and the significance of a camera as a deterrent to crime. Similar arguments can be made for both amendments.

I will not, for reasons of time, go over all the arguments. The Minister knows that amendment 96 is included in the group, and he said that we would return to the various issues that I have raised when discussing amendment 93. Amendment 96 asks why the code will deal only with the police and local authorities. Will the Minister give us more detail on why it is only through an order-making power that the provisions of the code may be extended to other organisations? If he thinks that it is important to name the police and local authorities in the Bill, why should other organisations not be named if, as the Minister said, the clause is about maintaining confidence? I shall be interested in what the Minister has to say on amendments 94 and 95. I will not go into amendment 96 in any more depth because I have raised the issues when we debated the previous group of amendments. If we are to maintain confidence in CCTV, we must understand that the public out there see it as an important tool in the fight against crime, antisocial behaviour and criminality.