A tale of two cameras

Data from two councils, a rural district and a London borough, suggests big differences in spending on CCTV

Using Freedom of Information to find council CCTV costs, usage and efficiency in two contrasting areas of England. More recently, I have mapped comprehensive data collected by Big Brother Watch on this subject.

The debate over the use of CCTV can be rather sterile. The police, local authorities and other parts of the public sector present them as a public good, there “for your safety and security” as station announcements phrase it. Continue reading “A tale of two cameras”

Oxfordshire reveals ANPR traffic camera sites

A council using automatic numberplate recognition to manage traffic has released the locations of the cameras, having previously refused to do so

Oxfordshire county council initially refused to provide the locations of its then-new ANPR traffic camera sites, but did so when I requested the data under Freedom of Information – to its credit, only nine days after I asked. Police forces have taken a somewhat less co-operative view on this subject. Continue reading “Oxfordshire reveals ANPR traffic camera sites”

‘It’s our David!’

David Cameron has built up a strong rapport with his constituents in the small towns and villages of Witney, a safe Conservative seat with high hopes for his future, says local resident SA Mathieson

Dean in Oxfordshire: Queen's Jubilee bench and tree A profile for the politics section of the Guardian website on David Cameron and West Oxfordshire, the area covered by his Witney constituency, when he became Conservative party leader.

I still live in the area, and write about the likes of its tweeting chief policeman and the romance of its long-distance A-roads for community newspaper Chipping Norton News.
Continue reading “‘It’s our David!’”

Video ring to unite islanders: Orkney Island Council and videoconferencing

The Ring of Brodgar stone circle on mainland Orkney
The Ring of Brodgar stone circle on mainland Orkney (published with original article)

First published in Government Computing, September 2002

Orkney Island Council is the smallest full-service local authority in the UK, a unitary body that governs just 20,000 people on 17 inhabited islands.

It is also a place where they love the internet. A council survey last summer, which gathered responses from over 1,000 households, found that 44% had internet access with another 6% planning to go online by the end of 2002. The national equivalent last summer, according to Oftel, was 39%.

So it may come as a surprise that the council is planning to concentrate on video-conferencing, rather than its web-site, in providing electronic access to social services, housing and health.
Continue reading “Video ring to unite islanders: Orkney Island Council and videoconferencing”