Pubs to escape demand to install CCTV if trouble-free

From BBC News:

CCTV camera
CCTV cameras have been installed in many licensed premises

Pubs in England and Wales with no history of trouble will no longer be forced by local authorities to install CCTV systems, the government has said.

It follows fears that surveillance cameras were becoming a legal condition of every licence as a matter of course.

The Information Commissioner, the privacy watchdog, had said it was seriously concerned by the development.

But the Department for Communities and Local Government is to issue new guidance to licensing authorities.

In many parts of the country, pub landlords have been told they must install CCTV, which can cost several thousand pounds, to monitor entrances and exits or face losing their licence.

The new code of practice is aimed at encouraging police and local authorities to consider whether putting in new cameras is “appropriate” in all cases.

‘Common sense’

“For example, it is unlikely that a trouble-free community pub would present a pressing need such that a surveillance camera condition would be justified,” say the new guidelines.

Community Pubs Minister Brandon Lewis said: “CCTV has a role to play in stopping and deterring crime in anti-social behaviour hotspots.

“But well-run community pubs that don’t have a public order problem shouldn’t be tarred with the same brush.”

The announcement was welcomed by the civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch.

Its director Nick Pickles said: “People should be able to enjoy a quiet pint without being constantly recorded on camera.

“This announcement brings some long overdue common sense to a situation where councils were driving up the cost of a pint by demanding pubs spend thousands of pounds on CCTV where there are no problems to deal with.”

A new code of practice has been laid before Parliament for approval, as part of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

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