Regulating CCTV? We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them

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This paper considers the lack of a universal CCTV policy across the United Kingdom and Europe and how this apparent omission is being addressed in the context of increased surveillance, and the omnipresence of CCTV in particular. Special attention is paid to the role of academics within the apparently long, drawn-out process of a current move from fragmented to collective regulation. What it seems exists is individual, independent policy that implicates wider legislation. What it seems is desired is a more comprehensive and codified decree. Starting with the issues that underpin CCTV and surveillance in general, this paper acknowledges the opposing arguments that CCTV can be helpful to policing as those that demonstrate how well it can facilitate a means of social control. The paper moves to consider the possibility of a ‘surveillance policy’ applicable and effective for CCTV’s balanced regulation, and discusses the means by which this might be realised, paying special attention to who is involved and to what extent, especially where this involves academic input. Academic input to date is problematized on one hand on account of its arguably narrow scope (source/personnel) and the trends yet ostensible wavering it entails on the other. Therefore, the author’s reservations around the place of academics in the process, especially because they appear to be key to developments, whilst variously demonstrating both influential flippancy and seriousness, lead to the conclusion that there is difficulty with trying to solve the ‘problem’ with the same thinking that created it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-30
Number of pages16
JournalCritical Criminology
Issue number1
Early online date21 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


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