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State surveilance in Forest Hill
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robin orton

Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #1
10-10-2010 12:36 PM

No doubt someone will tell me it's been there for ages, but I've just noticed the enormous and sinister-looking pole with a camera on the top outside William Hill's on the corner of Dartmouth Road and the South Circular. My blood froze. It dominates the town centre streetscape as you come down London Road, as in older, gentler times the beautiful Christ Church steeple used to - what a symbol of the way our society has changed! What's it for? Monitoring traffic, shopping red-light jumpers, watching me as I meet my mistress for a secret assignation in Wetherspoon's ? Who put it up, and on what authority? Was it subject to planning permission? I think we should be told.

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robin orton

Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #2
10-10-2010 12:39 PM

OMG, I've spelt 'surveillance' wrong. Perhaps 'admin' would kindly correct it.

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Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #3
10-10-2010 01:28 PM

Surely best we give The Police all the help possible.

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Posts: 96
Joined: May 2009
Post: #4
10-10-2010 03:24 PM

I think they used this camera to show the roadworks on BBC local news when London Road was closed. So I guess it's for traffic & trouble.

Seems to make sense to me. Train stations are notorious hubs for crime & the pedestrian subway can be used for muggings occasionally when quiet.

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Posts: 1,508
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #5
10-10-2010 04:24 PM

Can't stop laughing at the spelling mistake, you must be mortified Robin Rofl

But back to the camera, I'm sure that's the one that has indeed been there for ages now, and is indeed mainly for traffic use, and possible bus lane enforcement too.

Having been part of a team running a town centre CCTV system, personally I'm all for it's use. No issues with it at all. The one outside the cafe on Westbourne is the same.

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Posts: 1,538
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #6
11-10-2010 08:30 AM

It's for traffic and police, I know it's for traffic as we have a nice photo of our car provided by the parking enforcement office in LewishanmLaugh

There are a number if you look, another large one by Wetherspoons with one camera that always seems to be pointing up towards the block of flats on the hill, wonder if there is anything worth looking at through the windowsRolleyes

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Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2009
Post: #7
11-10-2010 12:17 PM

There's also a CCTV camera that has now appeared on a street lamp in
Westwood Park, near the rear entrance to the Horniman Gardens. Assuming this is purely for watching those misbehaving, given the levels of burglaries that have taken place, not to mention the odd mugging. I'm happy for it to be there...nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

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Peter C-H

Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2010
Post: #8
11-10-2010 09:04 PM

The one on the Dartmouth Road/London Road junction was one of the original roll-out in the 90s. It was taken over by TfL from the old Traffic Control Systems Unit which was a 'co-operative' of the London Boroughs which managed all traffic signals, cameras and specialist signs.


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robin orton

Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #9
11-10-2010 10:49 PM

'Snazy' wrote:

Can't stop laughing at the spelling mistake, you must be mortified Robin

Yup [is that the correct usage?], I sure am. But at least I noticed it myself, rather than having it pointed out to me by some anally fixated pedant. Does anyone know how I can avoid further humiliation by getting the title of the thread corrected? In my earlier posting I appealed to 'admin', but to no avail. I'm unwilling to ask her again in case she gets cross and does nasty things to any future postings of mine - I know what she can be like.

On the substantive point, I'm surprised that nobody seems to share my libertarian unease at ever-increasing snooping by the organs of the state or my aesthetic concern about the way this horrible bit of clutter dominates the streetscape. It makes FH look like a North Korean prison camp.

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Posts: 1,538
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #10
12-10-2010 08:36 AM

Robin I am afraid that we are in a catch 22 situation here. Remove the cameras and crime detection rates go down but we can rest easier that we are not being "spied" on.

As someone said earlier, if you are not doing a crime dont worry about it. I doubt cctv pictures of my good self walking down the street picking my nose will make headlines but I do hope that cctv will be used to assist with the prosecution of Sundays armed robbery etc, et.

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Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 2010
Post: #11
12-10-2010 08:54 AM

Robin, I agree with you. A while ago it was suggested that CCTV should be introduced on the housing estate where I live. I was opposed to it, partly for the reasons you've outlined, partly because of the cost which the residents would have had to bear, and partly because I felt that the introduction of CCTV would possibly make people feel less safe on the streets, because it would give them reason to think they should be scared when previously they might well not have been. The (very) few unsavoury types that you (very) occasionally see hanging around have always been scared off by a visit from the SNT. In the end CCTV wasn't introduced, probably because of the cost (my guess).

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Posts: 3,227
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #12
12-10-2010 10:19 AM

There are really two issue here; the issue of Big Brother watching us, and the visual impact of large towers in a conservation area.

The Forest Hill street clutter report recommends that the CCTV camera are positioned on buildings and on existing posts, rather than massive pillars that are an eyesore and obstruct the pavement.

If these cameras are used for traffic surveillance then they should be discrete and should not really impact on our civil liberties but they don't cut crime either.

But for me the main eyesore in the high street is the cages adjoining WHSmith, above the underpass. I thought Smiths was bad enough but the addition of the cages is horrible.

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Posts: 1,538
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #13
12-10-2010 10:45 AM

However, as Rob has attested, he didnt notice them so cant be that much of an eyesore then??

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Posts: 88
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #14
12-10-2010 07:10 PM

I think one of the biggest eyesores is the chicken wire fencing above Forest Hill Centraal/City Walk which you see from London Road or waiting on the station platform. It adds another 4 feet of height to the building which I doubt they have planning permission for and just looks cheap and nasty especially with a TV aerial in the centre. I am in favour of solar panels but I am sure they could have got some smaller and less ugly ones.

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