‘Anti-vandal’ CCTV in school toilets defended

Author: By David Hughes, Press Association

Len Holman, head at Angel Road Junior School in Norwich, said pupils had
requested the cameras, which cover the sinks, to protect newly-refurbished
toilet blocks.

But Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights organisation Liberty, said the
measure would only serve to prepare children for “a lifetime of pretty
intrusive surveillance”.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I do think that the state of our
privacy in Britain, and the currency and value of it, is rather worse than
even I had thought if we now believe that the only way to teach 7-11
year-olds to respect property, to behave well, is to put closed-circuit
television in the toilets.

“In other words, to teach them ‘behave well for fear of being caught’ and to
prepare them for a lifetime of pretty intrusive surveillance.

“What are we saying to them about their dignity and their personal privacy?”

Mr Holman told the programme the cameras were installed “four to five years
ago” at the request of the pupils’ school council.

“There were some isolated incidents of vandalism, occurring mainly because
pupils of course can’t be monitored by adults in toilet areas.

“So the pupils at the school saw that there was available space on the
security system operating in the school and asked whether TV cameras could
be installed, just to cover the sink areas in order to prevent further
vandalism to the toilets which they are so proud of.”

Yesterday it emerged a south London school had installed CCTV in classrooms to
avoid disputes between teachers and pupils and prevent theft.

Stockwell Park High School is currently being rebuilt and as part of the
overhaul a hi-tech surveillance system has been put in place.

So far there are cameras in 28 classrooms as well as corridors and stairwells,
and there are 40 more outside.

Deputy headteacher Mike Rush said he envisaged the number of cameras doubling
when the rest of the building is complete.

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