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CCTV News: London Surveillance ahead of the Olympics

Having spoken previously about the amount of surveillance that we have in Britain and if it is really necessary we continue the debate by focusing on the plans ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.

The country have been preparing for the amount of people that will be visiting the city of London during the Olympics, in shape of surveillance cameras, thousands of troops and private security guards all working alongside the police.

CCTV Surveillance in the form of hidden wireless cameras have been installed as well as the normal CCTV that we are used to, making it almost impossible to know when you are being watched. The system has cost around £500,000 on what’s called the ‘Olympic Revamp’. Hiding away in secret underground passages somewhere below Piccadilly Circus the London CCTV team will be monitoring 47 screens 24/7 from 120 surveillance cameras.

Westminster has spent more on CCTV than almost any other local authority, having spent more than £10m in the past 10 years. According to Dan Brown, they haven’t increased the number of cameras but rather have improved them, gaining better quality images.

We, of course worry about our privacy and the amount we are watched by whoever may be in these hidden control rooms, but also how effective this surveillance system is and what it is used for exactly.

Brown explained in an article with the Guardian that they will be using the cameras to spot any form of crime or problem, especially during the Olympics, from robberies and suspicious “hostile reconnaissance” to sellers of fake merchandise and congestion. This is perhaps essential to the city’s overall well being during this busy time, where an estimated million extra people a day will be visiting Westminster – this is more than double the normal number.

Matthew Taylor from the Guardian is seen here testing the system by walking down Regent Street in central London.

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