Department of Psychology, Lancaster University – Mark Levine and John Dixon
ABSTRACT:This paper will present data from a Home Office funded study of the impact of public order measures like CCTV surveillance and street drinking legislation on social relations in public space. The focus of the research was the town square in Lancaster city centre. Data comprised a survey (n=808) and in-situ interviews (n= 59) with users of the town square including teenagers, mothers with young children, homeless people, travellers, commercial workers and the elderly. The paper will concentrate on one emergent property of the analysis. Where most public order research focuses on concepts of ‘risk’ and ‘trust’, we explore the impact of CCTV surveillance on ideas of social responsibility. In particular, we present evidence that support for CCTV is related to lower feelings of responsibility for the welfare of others who might be co-present in public space. We consider this in terms of the idea of diffusion of responsibility to the CCTV apparatus. We also examine, against a background of high levels of support for CCTV, the tensions between ideas of freedom and accountability that are revealed in talk about that support. We draw these out by comparing and contrasting talk about CCTV cameras with talk about speed (Gatso) cameras.
Download Mark & John’s presentation> Locating Social Reponsibility: CCTV & Public Space ppt