The BBC reports that:
""Police probe 'peeping tom' claim"
CCTV camera allegedly used as a 'peeping tom' tool
Three council workers are under police investigation after they allegedly used CCTV cameras as a "peeping tom" tool.
The three men, who work for Sefton Council in Merseyside, are believed to have pointed a street safety camera into a woman's flat.
The men were suspended from their positions in the council's CCTV operation centre in Bootle last month.
Sefton Council says it is co-operating fully with Merseyside police in pursuing the investigation."
Are these people being investigated for the criminal offence of Voyeurism, under section 67 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 ?
Thanks to a reader of this blog for drawing our attention to this story.
The local news version of this story is online, from the Liverpool Echo. Why didn't the BBC quote the Liverpool Echo as a source ?
It seems that the Sexual Offences Act is being invoked, but that "Nobody has been arrested or charged".
Jan 5 2005
By Jon Tunney, Liverpool Echo
THREE council workers have been suspended for allegedly spying on a woman with CCTV cameras.
An investigation was launched before Christmas after claims that the Sefton employees had used the cameras to peer into a flat above a row of shops.
A police spokeswoman said inquiries were centred around the misuse of CCTV cameras for voyeurism.
It is believed the woman living in the flat was seen in the bathroom, although neither police nor council officials would confirm this."
If true, then that is almost certainly Voyerurism, as defined by the Sexual Offences Act.
"The police spokeswoman said: "Our investigation is being carried out under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Officers in Sefton will continue to gather evidence.
"Nobody has been arrested or charged, but the investigation is ongoing.
Why not ? What other "evidence" is required, if there is CCTV tape available ?
"The CCTV cameras in question did not belong to Mersey-side police."
A Sefton council spokesman said the authority would carry out a full internal inquiry once police investigations were concluded.
He refused to identify any of the employees involved or outline any of the accusations levelled at them.
The spokesman said: "We have suspended three employ-ees pending a full internal investigation into alleged breaches of the council's policies and procedures.
"However, Merseyside police are undertaking a criminal investigation into the matter, which we have been advised must take precedence over any actions we may take.
"We will await the outcome of their investigations."
Sefton council operates 70 cameras in Bootle, Waterloo, Crosby, Litherland, Netherton, Aintree and Southport.
All are monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, from the council's security services base in Linacre Road, Bootle.
Sefton's policy on CCTV use is recorded on its website.
It reads: "The systems must not only be used with the utmost probity at all times, they must be used in a manner which stands up to scrutiny and is accountable to the very people they are aiming to protect.
"The council is committed to the belief that everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life."
Why are there no effective and legally enforcable laws about the abuse of CCTV spy cameras, which will not always be cobvered by the offence of Voyeurism, but which still invade people's privacy nevertheless ?
Where is the UK's Privacy law ?