Several DA members were impressed by the work of Goold et al, which off-loaded some of the emotional and moral weight of this topic exploring the rise of security devices through a sociology of consumption framework. They describe CCTV as a common-place good, something uncontroversial and ubiquitous. Interviewing buyers of security goods, as well as those who work in the security business, the initial findings suggest that rather than people gaining a sense of order, power and safety, buying security feels less like an act of fulfilment and more like a ‘de facto taxation’; a nuisance and an irritant.
Yet the promise of CCTV and the political gain attendant on this remains a political given. As such the rise of surveillance seems set to continue for the foreseeable future. Perhaps it is simply the case that CCTV is more for fear of crime than crime itself. Does the presence of CCTV itself act as a cause of anxiety? This was one of the keenest questions posed by the DA and one to which we could find no answer. CCTV acts as an external sign of action, politicians can be seen to be doing something. This was held as one of the most immediate causes of the number of cameras on our streets, this combined with a general lack of understanding on the scope of what such methods can actually achieve.
The views expressed herein are those of the authors' alone.