Move to curb use of CCTV footage

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THE GOVERNMENT plans to ban television programmes and video makers from using footage from security cameras as entertainment.

Home Office Minister Alun Michael said the Government is worried the public will turn against the proliferation of close-circuit cameras in public places if they think they are used for intrusive TV programmes rather than catching criminals.

Several television shows have evolved from the increased use of private security videos and emergency services videos. More intrusive still are cheap-to-produce videos that use compilations of voyeuristic footage of car crashes and street disorders. The ban will be included in a new Bill to regulate the private security industries which the Home Office is planning.

There are already restrictions on closed-circuit cameras which are funded by the Home Office. Mr Michael said he intended extending these regulations to cover all CCTV video pictures. This will include emergency service closed-circuit videos as well as private footage.

He said yesterday: "I think in general the public are quite happy with the idea of CCTV being used so the police can act quickly." "If people get the impression that it is not being used to help the police and is being abused it could undermine public confidence."

Last year an Essex man failed to get the High Court to rule that Brentwood Council had acted unlawfully by supplying film of him attempting suicide to Anglia TV and the BBC's Crime Beat programme.

However, both the Independent Television Commission and the Broadcasting Standards Commission agreed that through human error, the privacy of the man had been infringed.