A study by the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders said the Home Office’s own research had cast doubt on CCTV’s ability to deter offenders. The number of crime prevention cameras in England and Wales will have soared from 100 in 1990 to an estimated 40,000 cameras by the end of this year, it said. Vast sums are being spent on CCTV projects even though there was very little scientific evidence to prove their merit, it said. The charity warned against over-investing in the cameras at the expense of "more effective measures" such as street lights, which might be up to four times as good as cameras at fighting crime.
Rachel Armitage, of NACRO’s crime and social policy unit, said: "It would be foolish to claim that well-planned CCTV can never have an impact, but the effectiveness of CCTV is often overstated. "This places a big responsibility on councils and others to think through the implementation of CCTV and ensure it is not favoured over cheaper and more effective measures such as adequate street lighting."