The initiative, which was not backed by any additional government funding, is part of a ministerial effort to give councils more power to prevent crime through local measures.
A circular issued by the Department of the Environment, Planning Out Crime, said that planning applications would no longer be a prerequisite for the installation of a closed-circuit television system, except where a listed building was involved.
John Major, who announced the initiative at the Conservative local government conference in London, said: 'Closed-circuit cameras have proved they can work, so we need more of them where crime is high.
'I have no doubt we will hear some protest about a threat to civil liberties. Well, I have no sympathy whatsoever for so-called liberties of that kind.'
At the same conference, Virginia Bottomley, the Secretary of State for Health, announced the creation of a national curriculum for social workers - and attacked authorities that allow overseas trips for offenders.
Mrs Bottomley also ruled out any change in the care-in- the-community programme, following the case of Christopher Clunis, the schizophrenic who stabbed Jonathan Zito to death at a London Underground station.
Mrs Bottomley said that the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work would issue a national core curriculum for social work training in the autumn. She said that this would be done in consultation with the profession.
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