At Big Brother Watch, we've long sought to draw the public's attention to the numerous ways in which public CCTV cameras can be abused by operators for dubious and unpleasant purposes. Only last week, we highlighted the case of James Tuff, a security guard working for the Dynamic Earth tourist attraction in Edinburgh who was revealed to have abused his position in order to spy on members of the public and colleagues.
Well, over in Hertfordshire, they don't appear to be using CCTV for quite such sinister purposes; indeed, the Stevenage Council's 'Camera Shy' newsletter contained the following story last month:
Late Night Shopping
Around one o’clock in the morning controllers were asked to locate a male person wearing a dressing gown reported to be walking through Hertford Town Centre.
The person was located walking along Maidenhead Street and onwards towards Birchley Green where he was stopped by a police unit who checked the man’s story.
Apparently, he was on his way to Tesco's to do some “late night” shopping, and so he was allowed to continue his journey. Controllers monitored the rather eccentrically dressed gentleman until he disappeared into the entrance of Tesco's Supermarket.
Now don't get me wrong; I do think it's extremely odd for someone to wish to go shopping in a dressing gown in the early hours of the morning. Does it not, however, speak volumes about the overall effectiveness of their CCTV network that the council feel the crow about this particular case in a magazine designed to promote the "success" of the Hertfordshire TV Partnership?