Keep town free from paranoid surveillance trend

MADAM - I was delighted to read some good news on the front of the Herald recently, namely that the plans for covering Sidmouth town centre with CCTV cameras appear to have foundered.

MADAM - I was delighted to read some good news on the front of the Herald recently, namely that the plans for covering Sidmouth town centre with CCTV cameras appear to have foundered.

In a country said to have the largest number of such cameras per head of population in the world, Sidmouth must surely be one of the last places to inflict more surveillance.

In fact, the Sidmouth plans have featured on the internet as an example of our national obsession with keeping an eye on each other. In contrast to the irrational fears of some Councillors, always eager for a bit of populist publicity, Sidmouth actually has extremely low crime statistics, as even a cursory examination will show.

'Ah yes' they say, 'but if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear', a comment often made by dictatorially minded authorities the world over.

On that basis why not have CCTV in every residential street in Sidmouth, after all burglaries in the town are much more of a problem statistically than the highly publicised occasional bouts of anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

As someone who grew up in Sidmouth, and will probably retire here one day, I would like to see the town kept free from the paranoid surveillance culture we have drifted into. I just hope that Councillor Hughes and others forget this 'loony' idea and find some other way to get their names in the paper!

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