Norwich school defends use of CCTV cameras

A Norwich school has defended its use of CCTV cameras after civil liberties organisation highlighted it on a list of schools with the highest ratio of cameras per pupil.

Organisation Big Brother Watch lodged Freedom Of Information requests with thousands of schools around the county and said the Hewett School, in Cecil Road, was one of 54 with more than one camera for every 15 students.

The school was named as having one camera for every 14 students, but associate headteacher Rob Anthony defended the use of such cameras.

He said: 'The issue for us is that we cover a very big site of about 55 acres and we do want that site to have CCTV coverage.

'When we speak to the students they are very pleased about that because it has led to a decrease in bullying.

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'It has also reduced vandalism to almost zero, which has saved a huge amount of money which we can invest in the education of students.'

Mr Anthony said the school had about 75 cameras and added that the monitoring of footage was carefully regulated.

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He said: 'The governors have agreed a policy for how the room which the cameras feed into is accessed and if a member of staff wants to look at the footage that has to be recorded.

'We sometimes get parents wanting to see it, but we have to explain to them that, while we can describe what is on the footage, we cannot show it to them. We do take civil liberties very seriously.'

Big Brother Watch said it received responses from 2,107 secondary schools and academies, which showed they used 47,806 cameras, including 26,887 inside school buildings.

In all, 90pc of schools had CCTV cameras, with an average of 24 cameras in each of the 1,537 secondary schools that responded and 30 cameras in each of the 570 academies.

The estimated number of CCTV cameras in secondary schools and academies across England, Wales and Scotland was now 106,710, the campaigners said.

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