Crime: View From the bridge

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Racist and bigoted attitudes appear to be commonplace among the people who monitor urban video cameras. Here are some of their views:


Young men were the main target of the cameras. They were often referred to as "toerags", "scum bags", "yobs", "scrotes", and "crapheads".

Garments considered to be indicative of criminal intent and whose owners were closely observed included puffer jackets, tracksuit bottoms, training shoes, baseball caps, pony tails, woolly hats and football shirts.

Homeless people were described as "Big Issue scum", "low-lifes" and "drug dealing scrotes".


Stereotypical negative attitudes towards ethnic minorities were widespread. A minority used terms such as "pakis" and "jungle bunnies".

In one case a former police officer said they "know" that young black men are "trouble".

On seeing a black man with a white woman in a flash car the security men immediately have the registration number checked on the police national computer. The man owned the car.

In another incident, operators check their monitors for any sign of black youths; after failing to locate any, one of the operators says: "They're all still in bed after a night out thieving' and mugging."


Some operators played little attention to their monitors. One was reported as going to sleep at 2am after starting the shift at midnight. "Having looked around usually in vain for drunken fights and then amused himself with copulating couples in cars he would make himself comfortable and drift off."