[Sir John Butterfill in the Chair] — A Surveillance Society?

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:25 pm on 19th March 2009.

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Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Crime & Security) 4:25 pm, 19th March 2009

There is a need for us to look at how CCTV is used, and to use the evidence that we have. It is important to ensure that the information gets out—in this case, to the various crime and disorder reduction partnerships, the police and so on.

Creating a national body, as suggested by the Committee, would be a way to do the very thing that the hon. Member for Hornchurch has mentioned. However, I do not want to prejudge that question; I want people to consider whether there is a need to update practice and guidance. However, it must be done on the basis of evidence, and what is being said.

That is exactly the point being made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East. Where is the evidence for us to use CCTV in a way that would make a real difference? The Committee's report starts to point out how that might be done. However, although we have a strategy, we do not have a national body to act as the delivery mechanism by which practice can be changed. That is why it is so important to have such a body, which is what I want to see.

The hon. Member for Hornchurch also asked about CCTV in pubs. I shall be corrected if I am wrong, but I believe that the issue concerns changes to licensing conditions or applications for licences. In some cases, because of their concerns about crime in a particular area, the police have said that if there were to be a change to the licensing conditions, they would recommend the installation of CCTV. If I am wrong, I am wrong; but as far as I am aware that has happened in all sorts of applications in all sorts of circumstances. It is a pretty reasonable way forward. The police were doing it to reduce crime.