The Guardian carried a letter from Nick Gibson who told how he had taken over a pub in Islington, London, and had to apply for a new licence, which
required the approval of a number of organisations, including the police.
I was stunned," he wrote, "to find that the police were prepared to approve – ie not fight – our licence on condition that we installed CCTV capturing the head and shoulders of everyone coming into the pub, to be made available to them
Big Brother CCTV cameras are to be fitted inside shops and supermarkets on the orders of the state to keep track on anybody buying alcohol.
A law is being quietly pushed through Parliament giving councils the power to order licensed premises to fit the surveillance cameras. Pubs will also be covered.
The footage of people innocently buying a bottle of wine in a shop or a pint of beer in a bar must be stored for at least 60 days, and be handed over to the police on demand.
The measures form part of the Policing and Crime Bill, but have not been highlighted by Ministers. Under a code of conduct, which will be enforced by the Bill, any business that intends to sell alcohol will have to agree to install the cameras.
Phil Booth, of the NO2ID privacy campaign, said: We are already a country with more CCTV cameras than anywhere else in the civilised world, but this law is systemising the surveillance of a nation. People will be treated like suspects wherever they
Earlier this week, the Mail revealed how police were warning pubs they would not support their licensing applications unless they agreed to train the intrusive cameras on their customers.
The first blanket policy has been introduced in the London borough of Islington, where all applicants wanting a licence to sell alcohol are being told they must fit CCTV.
Other forces are adopting similar tactics. But the planned new law goes much further, as it will allow councils – which ultimately hand out all licences – to insist on the CCTV cameras.
Home Office Minister Alan Campbell, who is piloting the CCTV measure through the Commons, recently admitted that he couldn't remember the last time he was in a pub.
Mark Hastings, spokesman for the British Beer and Pub Association, said: It's an extraordinary admission from someone who is proposing measures that, on the Government's own admission, will cost the pub sector hundreds of millions of pounds a year. It
shows how disconnected he is from the realities of what it's like trying to stay in business in the current environment.
Comment: Grade 1 Listed Prodnoses
23rd February 2009. Thanks to Alan
Haven't these absurd prodnoses got anything better to do?
What about the many pubs which are listed buildings, maybe unchanged for a century or more, that have got to have these things installed? Their appearance could be ruined.
A prospective landlord has won his fight not to install CCTV cameras in his pub after the case was taken up by the information commissioner.
Nick Gibson said police insistence that he set up cameras to film every customer entering and leaving the premises would threaten drinkers' civil liberties.
The Information Commissioner's Office intervened, writing to the Metropolitan police to warn that the blanket introduction of CCTV in pubs raised serious privacy concerns.
The police then dropped their conditions and Gibson was granted a licence for his pub - the Drapers Arms in Islington, north London.
Composer and local resident Michael Nyman, who counts the pub as his local, welcomed the police climbdown: Now we will be able to avoid police and government snooping as we go about our innocent business of eating, drinking and being .
The Information Commissioner's Office said it would pursue the issue of blanket CCTV in pubs with the police and government. We recognise that CCTV plays an important role in the prevention and detection of crime, and can help to reduce crime in areas
of high population density, such as city boroughs. However we are concerned at the prospect of landlords being forced into installing CCTV in pubs as a matter of routine in order to meet the terms of a licence.
The ICO is also planning to write to the government to express concern about the policing and crime bill currently going through parliament. It says the legislation will make it easier for licensing authorities and the secretary of state to insist pubs
install CCTV: We are concerned that this new power may be used to mandate the installation of CCTV in licensed premises where there has been no history of trouble, said the spokeswoman: The use of CCTV
must be reasonable and proportionate if we are to maintain public trust and confidence in its deployment.
Installing surveillance in a particular pub to combat specific problems of rowdiness and bad behaviour may be lawful, but hardwiring in blanket measures across entire areas and including pubs where there has been no history of criminal activity is likely
to breach data protection requirements.
Police in Islington yesterday confirmed the withdrawal of the request that the Drapers Arms should install CCTV. However, a spokeswoman said the force would continue to call for CCTV to be installed as part of all future licences.
What's your fetish Jackie?
lactating expenses & spanking my husband
Good news for fetishists wishing to protect their privacy on a night out in South London. Less good news for the rest of us, as Police and Government obsession with crime prevention continues to make inroads into our personal privacy and security - but
some comfort, as senior politicians from all parties take up an issue first highlighted by The Register.
Last month we reported how, following an incident at South London nightclub SEOne, police requested a licensing condition be set for all future events that all persons entering the premises must supply verifiable identification details that are passed
through a digital scanning and recording system. This also applied to fetish events put on there by Torture Garden, despite the fact that these have historically been less likely to attract anti-social behaviour.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is demanding new government guidelines to stop police making unfair requests to pubs and clubs around the use of CCTV.
The ICO is to make the plea in response to the government’s plans for a mandatory code of practice for the industry.
The ICO fears police are using licensing conditions to make pubs install CCTV or identity scanners, which can provide information on their drinkers.
Under the new mandatory code of practice consultation, the government avoided plans to make CCTV a blanket condition for all pubs, but councils will be able to force outlets in trouble-spots to operate surveillance if it feels it is needed.
Deputy information commissioner David Smith said strict new rules to reign in police demands were still required and urged clarity in the code: The question is whether we are going too far and is this surveillance at a level that is unacceptable that
doesn’t justify the benefits. Pubs and clubs should not become information gathering sources for police.
An ICO spokeswoman later said: There needs to an absolute reason why CCTV or ID scanners need to be in place. We understand that CCTV can serve an important purpose, but we don’t want licensees to feel they have to have CCTV to have a licence.
A lap dancing club has avoided having its opening hours slashed despite police concerns over a string of violent episodes.
Instead, Angels Gentlemen's Club in West Bromwich has been ordered to stick to a number of conditions after a hearing by licensing chiefs.
The club was hauled before a panel after police said it wanted the club to close at midnight after a number of late-night assaults, including a fight that left one man with a fractured cheekbone and a vicious robbery.
In a separate incident, a member of staff had a baseball bat. But at yesterday's meeting an agreement was reached to allow the club to remain open until 4am on Friday and Saturday nights provided bosses stick to stringent new rules.
Customers must be scanned by metal detectors and searched by staff, while lighting and CCTV must be installed on the car park.
A record of door staff must also be kept, and groups of five people or more will be refused entry unless they agree to have details of their identification taken.
Concerns have been raised by pub landlords and the public that council licensing authorities have been making CCTV a legal condition of every pub license.
To tackle the problem, the Government has announced that the blanket use of surveillance in pubs will end and replaced with a policy providing better balance between privacy and security.
Community Pubs Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, commented that:
CCTV has a role to play in stopping and deterring crime in anti-social behaviour hotspots. But well-run community pubs that don't have a public order problem shouldn't be tarred with the same brush.
The public deserves to have a pint in peace in a community pub without being snooped on. This government has called time on Big-Brother's secret, intrusive and costly rules that has forced pub landlords to pay to install CCTV where it was not needed.
The use of surveillance cameras should only be used if it is necessary and where it has public support.
Big Brother Watch commented:
It is only right that people should be able to enjoy a quiet pint without being constantly recorded on camera. This announcement brings some long overdue common sense to a situation where councils were driving up the cost of a pint by demanding pubs
spend thousands of pounds on CCTV where there are no problems to deal with.
Our privacy is too important to be undermined by a tick-box on a licensing form and I'm sure landlords across the country will join me in raising a glass to Eric Pickles and Brandon Lewis for defending people's local pubs from needless surveillance