Islington set for massive CCTV upgrade

PUBLISHED: 07:08 16 January 2012 | UPDATED: 08:25 16 January 2012

Cllr Barbara Sidnell at the CCTV control room

Cllr Barbara Sidnell at the CCTV control room

Dieter Perry

Ambitious plans for a large-scale upgrade to Islington’s out-dated CCTV network are being drawn up – in a bid to tackle gang crime and anti-social behaviour on the borough’s estates.

Islington Council’s crime chief spoke to the Gazette this week to reveal plans to bring in state-of-the-art cameras – that take higher resolution images – and expand the network onto every estate.

She also wants to stitch together the patchwork of systems operated separately by the council, Homes for Islington (HfI) and other social landlords – by hooking them all into one centralised 24-hour control centre.

The move could save residents hundreds of pounds a year in concierge fees.

But the proposals have been criticised by civil liberties campaigners, who say there are already too many cameras in “Big Brother” Islington.

Cllr Barbara Sidnell, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “We have quite a large gang problem on estates at the moment and it will help tackle that. It will give us more evidence to put before the courts.

“It’s been proved to be a deterrent and residents tell is us it makes them feel more safe, but it’s pointless having out-of-date equipment.

“Technology has moved on a lot since we started installing the cameras in 1997.”

Twenty-nine estates currently have CCTV cameras, covering just 18 per cent of HfI housing – most of which are not monitored at night.

Under the proposals, they would feed into the council’s 24 hour control room in Old Street, Finsbury, which would have its manpower upped from two officers at any time.

This could bring a reduction to residents who pay £321 a year in concierge charges – rising to £339 in April.

Cllr Sidnell said work would begin in 2013, although the project’s cost is not yet calculated.

But Josie Appleton, director of civil liberties campaign group The Manifesto Club, based in Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell, said: “It’s very Orwellian and is an example of the Big Brother town hall. There’s already too much CCTV and it undermines freedom to have every inch of public space watched.

“We need more police on the ground, not more cameras.”

Sharon Hayward, secretary of the Finsbury Estate Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “There are question marks about how effective it is. CCTV on our estate has not stopped anti-social behaviour. There needs to be more investigation into what has a real impact on anti-social behaviour.”


Latest Islington News Stories

Lee Jay Hatley’s alleged murderer accidentally knifed him in a “scuffle”, a court heard today.


Two moped thugs from Islington have been locked up for more than three years after being chased and caught with 17 stolen phones.

Two homeless women who had been sleeping under the Stroud Green Road bridge for a year have been offered housing – weeks after the Gazette published the tragic stories of how they had ended up there.


Islington is notorious for brutally high rent. But a brilliant yoga centre for people with special needs has been given a brand new premises for just £1,000 a year.

Migrants who arrive in Islington face a daunting prospect: mountains of government paperwork in a language they often aren’t familiar with; a ban on getting certain state benefits; and no legal help.


Dozens of new council homes were unveiled on Finsbury’s King Square Estate yesterday as part of a major regeneration.

Yesterday, 19:01

It was a lesson in politics for a set of inquisitive youngsters during a visit to the council chamber at Islington Town Hall.

Yesterday, 15:42

Today, it’s the pricey trampoline park that has the Sobell in the headlines. Four (and a bit) decades ago, it opened amid similar protests about how much it would cost. In between, it played a crucial role in Britain’s decision to join and then leave the EEC and the EU. The Gazette chats to 1970s Sobell manager Hywel Griffiths.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now