Police surveillance and the emergence of CCTV in the 1960s

Williams, Chris A. (2003). Police surveillance and the emergence of CCTV in the 1960s. Crime Prevention and Community Safety, 5(3) pp. 27–37.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.cpcs.8140153

URL: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/cpcs/journal/v5/n...


Although most commentators have dated their arrival to the 1980s, the use of public CCTV systems by the British police has a history that stretches back 40 years. Initial experiments in the 1960s with CCTV in London and Liverpool were unsuccessful due to the high cost of cabling. The first permanent use was the surveillance of political demonstrations in central London. This fitted into existing police operational requirements and structures, and continued a process of centralization and mechanization that began in the 1930s with working practices originally deployed in the First World War. The arrival of police surveillance systems in the 1960s thus calls into question any easy theoretical association between them and ‘post-industrial society’.

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