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The insecurity of security introduction

Updated Friday 12th November 2010

Security measures, such as gated communities and CCTV, can remove people's rights and have a long-term physical impact on everyday life. Do these increasing attempts at security help or is it a vicious cirlce which increases our feelings of insecurity?

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Len Stassi
There are individuals on the estate who say they feel they’re in prison.

Sherryl Murphy
You try to get through them gates with a trolley, carrier bags, shopping and you’re trying to fiddle about with a fob to open a gate, then hold the gate.
These elderly people, I don’t know how they can do it. I think some of them will end up being a prisoner in their own home.

Commentary
Security measures are seen as an emergency or an exceptional response, but they can have a long-term physical impact on everyday life.

Sherryl Murphy
My son’s got to go through one, two, three, four gates to get to the park on our estate. And each one of them needs a fob.

Len Stassi
Psychologically there’s no change in my behaviour, I think it’s more the practicalities of access and egress onto the estate.  Although the only real change I’d say, apart from using the fobs, is, I used to like to cycle straight down the front ramp and into this, and into my front door, but I can’t do that any more. 

David Blunkett
Gating can remove other people’s rights, which is why, not only should we listen to the majority view, but we should take account of the broader impact that it has on a community

Isabella Sankey
The more the government invests in surveillance apparatus, the more it's taken up by private individuals, so you’ve got corresponding statistics between the number of CCTV cameras that local authorities and other public bodies have, and then the amount of CCTV that’s then bought by private companies or private individuals.

Commentary
The private security industry is growing fast.

Peter Williams
Where there are reasonably large communities of high-value residential homes we provide a range of services within a subscription scheme, which are a general patrol, where we use our mobile vehicles and our security guards, which generally just patrol around in the area.

Commentary
It highlights wealthy areas as needing special protection, thereby drawing a line between the affluent and less affluent in terms of insecurities.

Isabella Sankey
Privacy, or surveillance measures individually don’t necessarily seem like they’re changing our society and making us more anxious and more fearful, but incrementally they can certainly do that. That's why I guess, you start off with CCTV in public spaces. Now we’re seeing CCTV rolled out in school classrooms.

So this kind of shift is very much connected with people feeling more insecure, the more surveillance that they have.

Peter Williams
I mean responding to an existing need from a commercial perspective, you know, it depends on the client. Our clients are intelligent rational individuals. They’re not run by emotion or fear. They see a particular need, a particular worry, based on fact, and they take steps to protect themselves.

David Blunkett
There’s no doubt that in the short term it’s easy for, government, nationally or locally, to take security measures to use enforcement as a method of getting a grip. 

If it’s seen as a long-term solution to put in security and to believe that that is the answer, then of course you’ve failed.

Isabella Sankey
What we need to get to grips with as a society is what kind of measures are going to be acceptable and aren’t going to alter, fundamentally, the kind of society in which we live.

 

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