Adding CCTV To Your Bus Shelter: Is It Worth It?

According to studies, there are approximately four million CCTV cameras in the UK today. And as a town planner or local authority officer, it’s likely that you’ve thought about the potential benefits and drawbacks of CCTV installation in civic spaces at least once before – or, indeed, gone ahead and installed it.

Bus shelters are often considered a prime place for bus shelters to be installed, given the extent of anti-social behaviour problems sometimes seen in these environments. But is it worth it? This blog post will explore that question and look at both the advantages and disadvantages of going ahead.

Benefits: deterrence and evidence

Bus shelters are, sadly, vulnerable to anti-social behaviour for various complex reasons. One of these is because they offer a place for people to congregate away from the elements. And it’s also down in part to the fact that people waiting for buses are more likely than not to have money and a mobile phone on them, which can increase the risk of mugging – especially in isolated places, and at night. Women and other groups may also be particularly vulnerable, and having CCTV in place can provide some much-needed reassurance to those who may be uncomfortable about being alone.

CCTV can help in a number of ways. There’s some evidence to suggest that the mere presence of CCTV can stop people behaving poorly, simply because they know that they will be caught on camera if the victim decides to make a complaint. And in situations where an incident does occur, the victim can be empowered if CCTV footage caught the incident on camera.

Drawbacks: privacy and cost

But despite the fact that Britain has the most closed circuit recording per capita than any country in Europe, CCTV is far from a silver bullet. As a local authority or other organisation, installing CCTV could make you a “data controller” in the eyes of the law. This means that you may have certain responsibilities you need to follow, such as erasing footage after a certain time or installing signage to inform people that you’re the one responsible for looking after the footage.

It’s important to ensure that you have adequate support on hand, perhaps from a legal officer at your organisation. That is likely to cost money – and that’s before factoring in the cost of an electricity supply of some kind to maintain the camera. In all, it’s a fine balance to strike. You need to ask yourself whether the level of risk or the current level of anti-social behaviour is bad enough for you to require the installation – and if it’s not, it may be worth avoiding it for now and reassessing in the future if problems continue to persist.

Ace Shelters supports British industry and makes bus shelters right here in the UK. To learn more about our range of shelters and the different benefits they offer, just click here.