Mental Health and Video Surveillance
Observation by video camera raises countless areas of concern pertaining to privacy issues. The crime reduction rates suggested by proponents of video systems, particularly in terms of closed circuit television (CCTV) systems being placed in public areas to combat criminal behaviour, are not convincing. One of the features of current surveillance practice is that the cameras are often installed in high-rent commercial areas. Crime may be merely pushed from high value commercial areas into low rent residential areas.
Another problem is the use of video surveillance is the tendency of law enforcement officials to single out particular minorities; racial profiling is a technique routinely used by police to pick out people of colour. In a recent UK study, 40% of individuals targeted by the police were picked out for no reason either than their race or ethnicity. Another area of concern relating to video surveillance pertains to women – in a Hull University Study, male camera operators were found to target at least one in ten women for “voyeuristic” reasons. Youth, particularly racial minorities, are often singled out arbitrarily. Questions pertaining to illegal searches and seizures as a result of information obtained by CCTV systems are also worrying.
The links below highlight the problems inherent in video monitoring and the potential such surveillance raises for abuse:
“What’s Wrong With Public Video Surveillance?”
“Say No To Video Surveillance”