Croydon is fifth worse in the UK for CCTV spending, despite only having 84 cameras. The borough has spent over five million pounds on the cameras over the last four years.
However, crime rates in Croydon have increased by 1 per cent since January 2011 to January 2012. It also has the highest amount of recorded crimes in the summer riots of all the London Boroughs.
The campaign group Big Brother Watch said money spent on CCTV could have put more than 4,000 extra police constables on the streets.
Nick Pickles, the campaign group’s director, said: “Surveillance is an important tool in modern policing but it is not a substitute for policing.
“Despite millions of cameras, Britain’s crime rate is not significantly lower than comparable countries that do not have such a vast surveillance state.”
Pickles added: “Britain has an out-of-control surveillance culture that is doing little to improve public safety.”
Croydon is one of the top ten places in the UK who have collectively spent more than £500 million installing and operating CCTV cameras between 2007/8 and 2010/11.
The report showed the 10 authorities that spent the most on CCTV between 2007/08 and 2010/11 were:
1. Birmingham City – £14,293,060 (636 cameras)
2. Westminster City – £11,831,554 (153 cameras)
3. Leeds – £8,762,292 (253 cameras)
4. City of Edinburgh – £6,211,425.30 (232 cameras)
5. Croydon – £5,329,589 (84 cameras)
6. Enfield – £4,996,900 (169 cameras)
7. Cambridge – £4,973,984 (141 cameras)
8. Wandsworth – £4,771,080.14 (1,158 cameras)
9. Leicester – £4,762,729.94 (2,083 cameras)
10. Barnet – £4,690,742.29 (141 cameras)
Emma Boon, campaign director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “There is no sense in councils pouring taxpayers’ money into CCTV if it is doing nothing to reduce crime.”
Croydon’s spending on CCTV dwarfs the needs of local charity Croydon Carers Centre who are fundraising £6000 to buy a new minibus.
A Croydon Council spokeswoman said: “Although it is not surprising to hear that an organisation called Big Brother watch is against CCTV, in Croydon there is no doubting its value to crime-fighting agencies. Only this morning our cameras helped to arrest a man stealing lead off the roof at the House of Reeves – which is owned by the family whose other store was burnt to the ground during last August’s riots.”
Sean Fitzsimons, Labour Councillor for Addiscombe in Croydon said: “CCTV has played a significant role in identifying a large number of people who looted shops and businesses in Croydon, which must be a good thing. But it is also clear that CCTV didn’t act as much of a deterrent.”