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Devon housing association installs spy cameras in flats

George Orwell | 29.08.2009 08:42 | Free Spaces | Social Struggles | Technology

The Riviera Housing Trust in Torquay is fitting over 100 cameras in corridors and staircases at its flats in Pendennis Rd. They claim it is to improve security, but residents have accused them of Big Brother tactics. The cameras will cost £375,000 and rents may be increased to pay for them.

Full story is on the BBC website:

George Orwell


Hide the following 14 comments

Not news

29.08.2009 09:19

I'm amazed this story has made the news.
In Hackney the have had Cameras outside Flats and Communal Areas and in the Lifts for the past
14 years !!! Especially in Tower Blocks.

Ronnie Self


29.08.2009 11:01

Yeah, I much prefer living a building full of people jacking up, pissing and shitting everywhere. What an outrage.

The Filth

Re: Filth

29.08.2009 11:20

"Yeah, I much prefer living a building full of people jacking up, pissing and shitting everywhere. What an outrage. "

The story here is that the residents don't want the CCTV. Maybe they don't see a need for it. That is what democracy looks like, people determining their lives for issues which affect them. This fallacy that the fabric of society would fall apart without constant surveillance and police interference keeps the government powerful and the boys in blue in lucrative work.


@The Filth

29.08.2009 11:27

re having "people jacking up, pissing and shitting everywhere":

In our (council) flats we just have a communal locked front door accessed by a key fob or by a speakerphone system, and many other places are like this. You very occasionally get someone having a big party and one of their drunk guests pisses in the lift, but that could equally happen in a private house too.

Why don't you give us your address so we can come and stick a spy camera outside your front door and see how much you like it? Or is the surveillance only a one way thing?

George Orwell


29.08.2009 14:00


The BBC article says: "Some tenants have accused the trust of using "big brother tactics", claiming the cameras are an invasion of privacy, while others have defended the move." So the sentence doesn't equate to all tenants being against it.


I already have, and it keeps the building relatively free of piss, shit, and hypos unlike the places without it round the corner (where there have been two murders too) that were rife with it until the LHA finally installed CCTV and controlled entry- magically 99% of the problems disappeared (or rather moved down the road).

The people who feel aggrieved at the CCTV are quite able to decommission it I'm sure.

CCTV is a sticking plaster on a festering wound for sure, but until the underlying problems of so-called 'anti-social behaviour' (a.k.a. the fruits of Thatcher's class war) are addressed and there is no sign of that happening soon, I personally would rather not have to step in piss and needles every day, thanks all the same.

The Filth

And George

29.08.2009 14:12

Post your address so I can come by and piss on your doorstep every evening and sprinkle some hypos and tinfoil around. No?

The Filth

It's a good idea

29.08.2009 14:20

A friend and I had the crap beaten out of us in a squat we were trying to hold down by the owners little firm. If we had CCTV installed it may not have happened.

I know other squats that have been threatened and have immediately installed CCTV. The threats came to nothing. CCTV is really not a bad idea for protecting your own space. It should make the police and thieves think twice before kicking in your door anyhow.


@The Filth: I suggest the controlled entry would have worked on its own

30.08.2009 15:44

I suggest the controlled entry to your communal front door would have worked on its own. Doesn't it give you the creeps to think some pervert could be setting around watching you and your neighbours walking around in your own corridors?

and @Saladin:

If you have a squat and want to install CCTV that's up to you - it's a private residence and if you are all happy with it then go for it. It's not going to be seen by some faceless minimum wage security staff zooming in on people's cleavages etc. Totally different situation to an outside entity installing it without all the residents in full agreement.

I can't believe we are still having this argument - have we already sleepwalked into an Orwellian nightmare? Has everyone given up on the idea of privacy and is OK with mass surveillance of the population by those in power?

Remember those dystopian sci-fi films from the 70s where people lived in concrete jungles with spy cameras following them wherever they went? At the time that seemed a ludicrous fantasy. Now it's pretty much reality and it seems some people are immune to it.

George Orwell


31.08.2009 09:46

"I suggest the controlled entry to your communal front door would have worked on its own."

I suggest you obviously don't have the same levels of crime and poverty where you live.

"Doesn't it give you the creeps to think some pervert could be setting around watching you and your neighbours walking around in your own corridors?"

It's unpleasant for sure, but preferable to having the local gang hanging around pissed up with knives; having the less social neighbours pissing & crapping in the shared access areas, having the place covered in graffiti.

So, I'd rather have the CCTV operators (who, having been in their office, being one bored looking bloke with a load of screens and more importantly a load of VCR recording evidence) than the local scum knowing they can come and go doing what they please.

I seriously doubt Bored Bloke is sitting in there wanking over me carrying my shopping. If he is he really needs help, or I need to broaden my horizons.

Like I said, until the economic/political problems causing the majority of the crime are addressed, I'd rather not be stabbed/mugged/murdered/raped (all have happened within a square mile).

And I'm sure the OAPs and refugees wouldn't thank you for removing the system either.

Sometimes there is more to fear than cameras. And if that is all you have to fear, count yourself privileged.

The Filth

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one

31.08.2009 22:43

Not sure where you live, but you're right we don't get knife-wielding marauders or neighbours defecating in the communal areas here. There are a few junkies, pissheads, prostitutes and bored kids but they either keep to themselves or are friendly. Do you really live somewhere as bad as you say or are you just someone who has read the Daily Mail too long!?

I think this is a pertinent quote from Benjamin Franklin that sums up what I think:

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Maybe you could argue the right to privacy in your own home isn't "essential liberty", but I think it is. I agree with you that the root cause of the problems are economic and political, though. I'm guessing you are from the statist left?

George Orwell

Wrong George

01.09.2009 00:46

"I'm guessing you are from the statist left? "

Anarchist... just one that prefers life & safety over dogma. Not everyone who disagrees with you is authoritarian.

As for your Daily Mail quote... I'll advise an infeasible act of self-fertilisation.

The Filth

lol, an anarchist who likes spy cameras in their flats?!

01.09.2009 20:03

Whatever is the world coming to?! Please turn in your anarchist membership card!

What's next, environmentalists who love going jet-setting on regular round the world trips?

This place is surreal sometimes.

George Orwell


01.09.2009 21:45

No, you have obviously been so sheltered from the reality of poverty, you think no one could ever want any protection from crime.

What a wonderful Utopian corner of Great Britain you must live in. Somewhere upmarket, or very rural?

Just wait till your neighbours are sticking knives in people's faces, your car is getting torched and the CSI won't let you out the building for two hours as they haven't finished recording the bloodbath in the building's entrance (complete with fob entry system) then get back to me about what constitutes fucking "surreal".


The Filth

@The Filth - playing the game of prolier than thou

02.09.2009 21:02

As I hinted earlier, where I live is neither upmarket nor rural. It's council flats, very urban and downmarket. We get the odd incident but it's certainly not a daily diet of neighbours stabbing each other or defecating on each other's doorsteps.

Anyway, enough of this game of prolier than thou, the original story was about housing association flats in Torquay. I doubt they get much inner-city style drugs gangsterism there. Locks on the communal doors should work fine.

Or maybe I'm just being trolled, they are getting very subtle these days.

George Orwell