The Home Office continues to pay out millions of pounds a year to subsidise Closed Circuit Television surveillance camera schemes, with no real evidence that they actually prevent crime.
Drunks fighting in the streets after chucking out time in pubs and clubs ignore the massive number of CCTV systems that they are caught on. Street muggers routinely wear hoodies on top of baseball caps to avoid a clear view of their faces.
Their main effect seems to be as a placebo to damp down political anger from the local communities who complain loudest that there are not enough policeman patrolling the streets etc.
Some recent Answers to Parliamentary Questions (c.f. below) illustrate the large sums of money involved. N.B. thes are usually only for some the capital costs of installing cameras and control rooms, and not for the annual running costs or equipment maintainence, which has led to many headline schemes grinding to a halt after a few years due to lack of funding to keep the cameras operating effectively.
How many CCTV spy cameras are enough ?
In the UK we already have something like 20% of the CCTV systems in the entire world, yet there is still plenty of crime and disorder which is not deterred by such generalised snooping and mass surveillance.
"3 Nov 2004 : Column 295W—continued
Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much money the Government have invested in CCTV systems in local authorities covering the Greater London area. 
Ms Blears: The Home Office provided a total of £33.44 million to local authorities in Greater London for Closed Circuit Television schemes through the Crime Reduction Programme's CCTV initiative.
This was broken down as:
CCTV Round 1: Local authorities in Greater London were awarded £19.49 million for CCTV.
CCTV Round 2: Local authorities in Greater London were awarded £16.95 million for CCTV.
Since the completion of the Crime Reduction Programme, crime reduction funding has been allocated directly to local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRPs) through the Building Safer Communities fund and to Basic Command Unit (BCD) commanders through the BCU fund. These funding streams fund a variety of interventions, including CCTV, to tackle local crime priorities. Information about the interventions funded is not held centrally.
Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much public funding has been spent on CCTV security cameras in West Lancashire since 1997. 
Ms Blears: The Home Office has provided a total of £884,404 to West Lancashire for Close Circuit Television schemes through the Crime Reduction Programme's CCTV initiative.
This breaks down as:
Under CCTV Round 1, West Lancashire was awarded £166,948 for CCTV in Ormskirk Town Centre.
Under CCTV Round 2, West Lancashire was awarded £696,703 followed by an additional £20,753 to provide a network of cameras in priority rural and urban locations across the borough, incorporating public transport and "hard to reach" areas.
All funding was claimed.
Other crime reduction funding has been allocated directly to the local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership and Basic Command Unit in West
3 Nov 2004 : Column 296W
Lancashire to fund a variety of interventions, included CCTV. Information about the allocation of that funding is not held centrally.
Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much public funding has been spent on CCTV security cameras in Burnley since 1997. 
Ms Blears: As part of the Crime Reduction Programme, Burnley claimed £198,526 to extend the existing CCTV coverage to Padiham, enhance the current town centre scheme and relocate the control room.
Other crime reduction funding has been allocated directly to the local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership and Basic Command Unit in Burnley to fund a variety of interventions, included CCTV. Information about the allocation of that funding is not held centrally."
Burnley, is of course, notorious for the recent race riots and the election of far right politicians to the local council, a trend which worries the hard line Labour Party Home Secretary David Blunkett.