So I've been doing a bit of reading about CCTV and crime rates. As it turns out, they're extremely expensive to implement, but since most Brits are willing to trade their freedoms for safety, it's a price they're willing to pay.
The problem is, study after study shows that CCTV often has little to no effect on crime rates and more effective measures, such as better lighting on dark streets, are much more cost effective. So Brits have happily been trading their freedoms for, um, not much.
At this point, some folks might claim that conviction rates could increase, but even the British Home Office isn't saying much about this though they crow about some areas which have lower crime rates after CCTV was installed (which raises the ol' "correlation/causation" question). I haven't found much decent information on this, but I suspect that there are so many crimes and so many CCTV cameras (around 4.3 million with more being added all the time) that trying to wade through all of that data means that it's mostly high profile crimes which get proper attention via CCTV -- and that's assuming you knew where the crime took place.
On the other hand, CCTV has led to the convictions of CCTV operators for spying on women in their flats and it turns out that this is not uncommon.
And in the "I'd laugh if I wasn't so horrified" department (well, I'm laughing anyway), Scotland is considering adding CCTV cameras to monitor their speed cameras.
Side note: are any of my British friends offended by my talking like this? I realize that me moving over here and ripping on your country could be rubbing some of you the wrong way, but I can't seem to help speaking out about civil liberties.