CCTV in every home? Not likely


5:05 am - August 5th 2009

by Sunny Hundal    


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Ed Balls MP has hit back at claims that thousands of families in England were to be put under 24-hour CCTV surveillance to change their bad behaviour.

A report in the Sunday Express newspaper said:

Thousands of the worst families in England are to be put in “sin bins” in a bid to change their bad behaviour, Ed Balls announced yesterday.

The Children’s Secretary set out £400million plans to put 20,000 problem families under 24-hour CCTV super-vision in their own homes. They will be monitored to ensure that children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals.

Asked on Twitter if this was true, cabinet minister Ed Balls said it was “complete and total nonsense”.

When prompted further, Kerry McCarthy MP replied on twitter saying: “We already have the Family Intervention Project in Bristol. No CCTV cameras in their homes! Have a look at this: http://bit.ly/Rzgjz

In other words the government has launched a Family Intervention project which is currently being trialled in Bristol.

She added later: “Yes if you read Express report, that’s what it says. Scheme already exists, Bristol was one of earliest pilots.”

And then: “It’s the same project The first comment on Express site says it all – these are families from hell. No CCTV as Ed said.”

And finally: “If u write off such families, it continues thru generations, downwards spiral – only intensive intervention works.”

It’s unclear where the Sunday Express got the idea that families were to be put under 24 hours CCTV surveillance.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


In other words the government has launched a Family Intervention project which is currently being trialled in Bristol.

And which will be cut under the Tories.

2. Alisdair Cameron

Who to believe?
The Express or Ed Balls? Liar or liar?
Odds are it was a speculative idea, that somebody genuinely floated round the Dept. The fact that someone can even suggest it is scary. The fact that the Express can report this as policy is scary. Ed Balls is very scary.

Families can be moved into special units where they’re put under 24 hour surveillance. That’s part of the FIP programme for families that have found themselves excluded from Local Authority housing thanks to Antisocial Behaviour. Full information about the project is available from Government websites accessible to all.

The Express has mixed things up a bit to create a sensationalist story.

Ed Balls said it was ‘nonsense’ which isn’t quite the same thing as a denial. It may well be true that the program is going to get a huge boost to funding. It’s just not true they’re putting CCTV in people’s homes – they’ve already got special ‘units’ for that.

Having read what the Express said and what Balls’ department is saying, it is fairly clear that the Express did indeed mis-represent this. But what I still don’t understand is whether this is punishment or treatment.

Are families being offered help which can be refused or is the FIP mandatory or is it somewhere in between?

It sounds as though this is being set up as an option but where the only other option available is eviction. And the two are not necessarily exclusive. Moreover, does this apply only to social housing tenants or can private tenants be forced into these units.

If whole families are being coerced into residential units (for how long exactly) without any of them being convicted then this deserves the scrutiny that it only seems to have got as a result of the Express’ erroneous reporting.

I’m not dismissing this out of hand but this looks like a further example of justice being removed from the courts and placed in the hands of Council officers and social workers. There is also the question of whether – if it is indeed punishment – it could be construed as collective punishment.

5. Shatterface

The Express may have jumped the gun but 12 years of a Government dedicated to abolishing privacy and dignity has demonstrated that whatever CAN be done will be done, eventually.

“Odds are it was a speculative idea, that somebody genuinely floated round the Dept. ”

Aye, and which was then leaked to gauge reaction.

If the Express had said “What a great idea!” then this would probably already be policy.

The argument is well rehearsed: it is a combination of proactive crime prevention and ‘prison works’. Obviously if delinquents can be locked up before they commit their crimes, then any surveillance is justified. Or so I have inferred from successive home secretaries.

Call it a pre-emptive strike, but you do not have to hack into the microphone and camera on the laptops of Blunkett, Straw and Smith to know this.

What is most disturbing about this story is that if you Google it you will find it all over the web, and all on the basis of one sentence in one report in Britain’s least reliable newspaper. Alisdair Cameron is wrong – the Express didn’t say it was a secret plan, or a rumour, they said Balls had ‘announced’ it, publicly. There was no such announcement. If you think there was, and Balls is lying about it, where’s your evidence?

9. Alisdair Cameron

@ Johnbax. Where did I say there was such an announcement? Read what I wrote: I called both the Express and Balls liars. The Express, as you seem to agree, has acquired a reputation for unreliability and being proof-free for stories. Balls has an almost equal reputation, and is a liar (evidenced here and also in more general terms by tens of thousands of teachers). My point is that the very idea even floating around the DCMS and Govt in any form,(which it is, see the Respect document which speaks of units where families will have to live which will have “24-hour support and supervision”: 24hr manned supervision? . Such surveillance as a means of overt social control, without proper and sufficient legal process, as outlined in the document is hugely scary.Balls and his department love to look tough, with such gimcrack measure, yet he particularly, via his disastrous stint at the Treasury, is one of the architects of the situations that created social unrest, namely his deliberate fostering of the chasm in incomes in the UK. His solution? Authoritarianism, the bypassing of legal process, and the reduction of rights, while his rich pals skip along merrily.

Don’t be silly . . .

A lively tendentious imagination is about half the requirement for a journo working for Desmond, the nearly and wanna be billionaire owner of what once was called the Daily Get-much-worse.

Now it has, the nomenclature has been overrun too far by reality I suppose. “Got-much-worse”?

They ALL wanna be like the Dully Tele and be on the Beeb:

http://quietzapples.blogspot.com/2009/05/thrice-dully-tele-campaign-of-tory.html

It’s unclear where the Sunday Express got the idea that families were to be put under 24 hours CCTV surveillance.

George Orwell perhaps?

So Lord Ashcroft tells me, Alex . .

When the stupid Brits turned their personal weapons into their government without killing their “Liberals” they became slaves. All evil that happens after that they fully deserve.

Don’t understand? Start here:

http://willowtown.com/promo/quotes.htm

And don’t miss what the insane brits are doing to themselves:

http://willowtown.com/reality/britsinsane.htm

more cameras more video

Funnnnnyyy how some think that billionaires lying is ok if it is (as it almost always is) anti Labour . . .


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    : CCTV in every home? Not likely http://bit.ly/kEMvj

  2. anotherwhitemug.com

    Liberal Conspiracy » CCTV in every home Not likely | creating a …- Michael Treacy posted on The BNP’… http://bit.ly/yv2mQ

  3. Houston CCTV

    CCTV in every home Not likely : Liberal Conspiracy: And then: "It’s the same project The first comment on .. http://bit.ly/Jpuyn

  4. Matt Baker

    @ieatfog CCTV in peoples homes story from yesterday is not true (thank God) http://tinyurl.com/nx83ud

  5. Liberal Conspiracy

    : CCTV in every home? Not likely http://bit.ly/kEMvj

  6. Liberal Conspiracy

    : CCTV in every home Not likely http://bit.ly/kEMvj

  7. Jamie

    RT: @CosyPhil: @ieatfog CCTV in peoples homes story from yesterday is not true (thank God) http://tinyurl.com/nx83ud

  8. anotherwhitemug.com

    Liberal Conspiracy » CCTV in every home Not likely | creating a …- Michael Treacy posted on The BNP’… http://bit.ly/yv2mQ

  9. sunny hundal

    "CCTV in every home Not likely" – @KerryMP @edballsmp http://is.gd/23Fdt

  10. Houston CCTV

    CCTV in every home Not likely : Liberal Conspiracy: And then: "It’s the same project The first comment on .. http://bit.ly/Jpuyn

  11. Matt Baker

    @ieatfog CCTV in peoples homes story from yesterday is not true (thank God) http://tinyurl.com/nx83ud

  12. Jamie

    RT: @CosyPhil: @ieatfog CCTV in peoples homes story from yesterday is not true (thank God) http://tinyurl.com/nx83ud

  13. sunny hundal

    "CCTV in every home Not likely" – @KerryMP @edballsmp http://is.gd/23Fdt

  14. Tech Jungle

    RT @ieatfog @CosyPhil @ieatfog CCTV in peoples homes story from yesterday is not true (thank God) http://tinyurl.com/nx83ud





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