09:30 19 February 2009
In a new security move, plans have been unveiled to install CCTV cameras in pubs, clubs, off licenses and restaurants in London.
Police have informed the drinking establishments that they will not support their licensing applications unless they agree to film their customers.
Furthermore, they will also have to hand over any tapes to the police upon request.
The blanket policy has been introduced in the London boroughs of Islington and Richmond in an attempt to aid law enforcement.
Many establishments which sell alcohol after 11pm have been urged to install clear CCTV video to capture customer's headshots upon entrance.
However, the move has not come without its criticism. The UK's privacy watchdog, Information Commissioner's Office, has expressed its concerns.
David Smith, deputy Information Commissioner said: "Hardwiring surveillance into pubs raises serious privacy concerns. Installing surveillance in pubs to combat specific problems of rowdiness and bad behaviour may be lawful, but blanket measures where there is no history of criminal activity is likely to breach data protection requirements.
"Use of CCTV must be reasonable and proportionate if we are to maintain public trust and confidence in its deployment."
Many more have raised their views that CCTV should only come secondary to more police officers and harsher sentences for criminals.
National security spokesman Crispin Blunt said: "CCTV can be a useful tool against crime and anti-social behaviour but it is no substitute for having a real police presence on our streets.
Is Britain now a surveillance nation?
"The police need to be specific about why CCTV is needed in this case.
"On this issue, as elsewhere, evidence is required so a proper balance can be struck between privacy and security."
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