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UK Plans To Monitor 20,000 Families' Homes Via CCTV 693

metrix007 points out a story in the Sunday Express with more surveillance-camera madness from the UK, where the government now wants to place 20,000 CCTV cameras to monitor families ("the worst families in England") within their own homes, to make sure that "kids go to bed on time and eat healthy meals and the like. This is going too far, and hopefully will not pass. Where will it end?"
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UK Plans To Monitor 20,000 Families' Homes Via CCTV

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  • by mustafap ( 452510 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @05:27AM (#28915045) Homepage

    I wouldn't worry about it too much. As an englishman living in england, I can tell you these newspapers are rubbish. Page 3 probably has "Elvis is alive and working as a roadsweeper".

    There are about 50 million people in the uk, so it only takes a *tiny* fraction of the population to have enough idiots to write this rubbish and the remainder to buy newspapers printing it..

  • by squidinkcalligraphy ( 558677 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @06:00AM (#28915173)

    Look; I know that this is a touchy subject, but after working for 5 years (in Australia - things aren't quite as bad here as they are in the UK or the US) as a teacher with kids from the rough side of town, I can tell you there are some seriously fscked up families out there. That warrant some kind of intervention, yet too often the departments responsible for this sort of thing are too fearful of being seen as some Orwellian over-lords. Often it comes down to an issue of human rights, particularly with children involved. Why bother having laws against child abuse if you don't police them? Democracy isn't "do whatever the hell you want" - it involves responsibilities to our fellow people, and people who don't want to undertake those responsibilities need to be handled in some way. Putting cameras in their homes might be better than sending them to jail.

    I'm not for a surveillance sort of a state, but when everyone complains of governments becoming "nanny states", I see a lot of people that need a nanny.

  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @06:00AM (#28915177)

    Well, there are families which constitute the dregs of society, same as you'd get anywhere else. Think "mother had her first child at 15, now has four children with five different fathers, drinks like a fish, has never really paid any attention to what her kids eat, what they do of an evening or how they behave and if they get in trouble is more likely to rush to their defence than to make any effort to find out if they really have done something wrong".

    These families are very much in the minority, though they probably cause upwards of 70% of the trouble in any particularly troubled area.

    It's these that such schemes are targeting - of course you've got the "slippery slope" argument and there may be some truth to that - I don't think anyone in the public sector in general from the prime minister right down to the lowliest PCSO has ever voluntarily relinquished some of their power, and this gives some people an awful lot of power. But making an effort to understand the causes and treat them rather than the symptom would be far too much like hard work for the majority of ministers.

  • by leenks ( 906881 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @06:50AM (#28915349)

    These aren't in private houses. They are in publically owned houses (or at least publically paid for houses). The UK has a very "good" benefits system - so "good" that it is the aspiration of thousands of teenage girls to get pregnant as early as possible such that they can get their own flat and benefits so they don't have to work. The biggest problem is we are now entering at least the second generation of this kind of thinking/upbringing, so the teens don't know any better. It isn't obvious what the solution is either.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @07:23AM (#28915505) Journal
    Okay, you're confusing two issues. One is cameras in general and you, like many Americans, seem to have read the article in one of our trashy tabloids giving an estimate about the number of cameras in Britiain and failed to read the retraction printed a few weeks later where they admitted their methodology was entirely nonsense[1].

    The second issue is putting cameras in the homes of people who are basically criminals. Look at the numbers involved. They are doing this in 20,000 homes out of 25 million. That works out to 0.08% of the population. If you add this to the percentage of the population in prison, you get 0.228%. Compare that to the 0.756% in prison in the USA. Would you rather that we just put the parents in prison and the offspring in foster care or orphanages?

    [1] They took a busy commercial London street and counted the number of CCTV cameras along a mile of it, including (as the majority were) privately-owned cameras covering businesses. They then multiplied this number by the number of miles of road in the UK and printed this in their headline. I've been in the USA quite a few times, and seen a lot more CCTV cameras in US cities than I do back home.

  • Re:Holy shit. (Score:2, Informative)

    by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @07:24AM (#28915515)

    Saying "it's 1984! 1984!" isn't useful. I have mod points, and I was tempted to just mark them all redundant, but there were too many. It's more interesting to look at why something like this has been (or could potentially be) proposed.

    As others have said, there are areas in the UK where some kids/teenagers are completely out of control: vandalising stuff, intimidating people, stealing stuff, letting off fireworks in the street, shouting to each other until long past midnight. I live in one -- but it's in London, where there's generally still money and jobs around, so it's not that bad. Kids intimidate/bully some old people, but they ignore someone like me. It would be different in an ex-mining town in the north of England: no money, no jobs, no future. What have these kids got to lose?

    Generally, the police would take kids causing trouble back to their parent's (mum's) house. Most of the time mum will deal with it. But what should society do if mum doesn't care?

  • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @07:36AM (#28915565)
    According to the governments documentation on these schemes (which makes no mention of cameras, by the way) the 24 hour supervision is used when the parents are indeed one step away from having the kids taken away from them. Having the kids taken is the stick used to try and improve their behavior.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @07:36AM (#28915567) Journal
    The citation you need is here []. The program provides three tiers, and at the top tier the family is moved into a 'core residential unit' which is monitored 24 hours a day. This is an option which is intended to try to keep families together; if they choose to opt out then the children can be taken into care (and the parents potentially tried for any of the forms of antisocial behaviour they've been engaged in, including child abuse). If you read the Express article, you can just about see how it relates to this scheme, but you'd have to take a lot of drugs for them to be seen as the same.
  • by Kifoth ( 980005 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @07:42AM (#28915599)

    Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: "This is all much too little, much too late."

    Between the lines:

    much too little : Expect more from the next government.

    much too late : Expect it soon.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @07:42AM (#28915603) Journal
    Where did you get the "non-negociable" [sic] from? Read the sanctions section of the government document []. If you don't want the intervention then they CSA and police will proceed through the usual channels (meaning the children will be taken into care and the adults will most-likely be put in prison for criminal damage / child abuse).
  • Re:Holy shit. (Score:5, Informative)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @07:55AM (#28915669) Journal

    >>>welfare state created them that is total bullshit.

    Is it?

    I am currently being paid the equivalent of $14 an hour to sit on my butt doing nothing, and that unemployment benefit will last one-and-a-half years. Basically the State is "encouraging" me to be a slothful bum.

    Fortunately I would rather be working which is why I'm still actively looking (plus it pays about three times more money), but it would be very very easy to just sit back, do nothing, and collect my $14/hour checks from my Democrat President and Congress.

    The welfare states *does* create the lifestyle.

  • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @08:00AM (#28915697)
    They've already screwed up, they've let their government take their guns away

    We never had guns in the first place. When handguns were finally outlawed, it affected only a few thousand people out of sixty-odd million. As far as I know the mainland UK has never had a culture of individual gun ownership.

  • Two words (Score:5, Informative)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @08:12AM (#28915763) Homepage

    Two words tell you everything you need to know about this story:

    Sunday Express.

    Move on. Nothing to see here. And, Slashdot, for God's sake... please check your sources in future rather than the random cranks.

    For those who don't know, imagine that bit in Men in Black where Tommy Lee Jones checks the papers for "information"... one of those would be the Sunday Express.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:43AM (#28916885)

    It looks like violent crimes are down over the last 15 years: []

    But, the 10 years before that seem to have seen a huge climb, such that it is only back down to roughly the original levels of ~|25 years ago: []

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @11:46AM (#28917411) Homepage Journal

    Some of the best people I've known would be categorised as 'chavs' based on their physical appearance (which is how people are classified as such).

    No it isn't. Chavs are chavs because of how they act. Just admit it, you live in Islington, you've only ever seen them on TV.

    Essentially, you and the rest of the chattering classes

    That internet mind reading device you bought - did you keep the receipt?

    consider people who dress and speak differently from them as 'scum'

    Except they have. To be considered for this scheme they need to be last chance cases.

    want to use the police to lean on them despite them not having committed a crime.

    You might also read some of the things I posted about the G8 protests & the arrest of the power station proters near Nottingham. After that you can apologise or shut up.

    You are an ignorant, suck up, mothers-basement-dwelling retard who is willing to write off mostly decent human beings just so you get the warm fuzzies about being 'better' than someone.

    Odd definition of basement - the view seems rather too good. Want to accuse me of going to Eton, just to be completely wrong? Nonce.

  • Re:Holy shit. (Score:3, Informative)

    by SomeStupidNickName12 ( 1377421 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:09PM (#28918051)
    Wow, you honestly could be describing South Africa with that post. Same problem here with those on welfare in exactly that same situation. The major problem, is that we all live in global culture that expects handouts. Its really sad, but I don't expect it to change any time soon. Its is getting so ridicules that I have been here stories of people intentionally getting HIV and then not taken medication so that there CDC count drops and then qualifying for additional welfare because they now have AIDS.
  • by Pippinjack ( 702680 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @08:04AM (#28925321)
    Happy to help:
    Chav [] (or Ned here in Scotland) is a term for working class ne'erdowells.
    A Dole Bludger [] is a term I've not come across before, but apparently it's an Aussie term for people who claim unemployment benefit and never look for a job.
  • by mhajicek ( 1582795 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @01:39PM (#28930205)
    How do you know it hasn't happened? The FBI don't care who they throw in jail as long as they get credit.

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal