Published on Sep 13, 2012 by DJsNorthWest
Hundreds of schools ‘have CCTV cameras in toilets or changing rooms’ (read more)
An estimated 106,000 cameras are in use in secondary schools and academies in England, Scotland and Wales, privacy watchdogs say.
The group Big Brother Watch found 825 cameras located in changing rooms or bathrooms in 207 schools.
Last night, it said the figures emerged in data from a sample of more than 2,000 schools, so the total number of cameras in communal areas is likely to be much higher.
The group said government proposals for the regulation of CCTV were ‘woefully weak’ because they would not apply to schools, and the newly created surveillance camera commissioner will have no enforcement or inspection powers.
The report also revealed 54 schools have a ratio of one camera for every 15 pupils or higher, with one for every five students in some cases.
‘The full extent of school surveillance is far higher than we had expected and will come as a shock to many parents,’ claimed Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles.
He said the most common reasons for installing them were theft and bullying, even though the only known study carried out in France in 2007 found stealing rose after cameras were brought in.
Headteachers of schools named in the report claimed some of the findings were ‘misleading’.
The Radclyffe School in Oldham topped the list, with 20 cameras in toilets or changing rooms.
But headteacher Hardial Hayer said they are above doors entering toilets, only overlook washbasins and are nowhere near cubicles.
‘It is misleading to say we have the highest number, it all depends on the design,’ he said.
‘We are also a much bigger school than the average secondary school.’
Siobhan Freegard, of parenting website Netmums, said ‘everybody realises’ cameras are not being placed in cubicles but in open areas where a lot of bullying and bad behaviour takes place.
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