It’s said that the UK has the highest concentration of CCTV cameras in the world. Some estimates say we have 4.2m CCTV cameras – one for every 14 people. Walk through central London and you could be caught on camera 300 times in a single day.
Well, in the last two days the creeping automation of the policing of everyday life took another couple of significantly leaps forward.
Press reports on Tuesday said the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) had given the go-ahead for the rollout of Specs average speed cameras in urban areas. The cameras will be used in new 20mph zones, which many in local London politics have been lobbying hard for.
Perhaps the one glimmer of good news is that the cameras will be used in place of speed humps, which, the anti-car brigade suddenly now agree, lead to huge increases in local pollution and noise. Even so, as any experienced driver knows, sticking exactly to a 20mph limit on a narrow, urban street will not be easy. Avoiding a fine will become a serious issue.
But there’s even worse news. Last night it was revealed that the Metropolitan Police have been stripped of their powers to deal with offences involving major road signs. These include such things as ignoring ‘one way’ and ‘no right and left turn’ signs.