Press Release: 8th June 2011
Attn: News Desks


-- BEGINS --


No CCTV has teamed up with Privacy International and Big Brother Watch to
launch a blistering joint complaint [1] with the Information Commissioners
Office (ICO) regarding the so-called ANPR "Ring of Steel" that has been
constructed around the town of Royston in Hertfordshire. The campaign groups
warn that for Royston read any town in the country. 

The three civil liberties groups believe that the Automatic Number Plate
Recognition (ANPR) [2] cameras encircling Royston are unlawful and have
called on the ICO to take action. 

A network of ANPR cameras has been constructed throughout the UK by the
Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) - there was no public debate, no
Parliamentary debate, no Act of Parliament, not even a Statutory Instrument
before this network was constructed. The coalition government has failed to
tackle the legal fog surrounding ANPR cameras in the Protection of Freedoms
Bill which is currently before Parliament. 

Charles Farrier of No CCTV said:

"The national ANPR network is the biggest surveillance network that the
public has never heard of. The use of ANPR as a mass surveillance tool
constitutes a major assault on our common law foundations and the Rule of
Law. It is a system of automated checkpoints that ought to have no place in
a democratic society." 

In March 2010 Sergeant Vine of Hertfordshire Constabulary told a North
Hertfordshire District Council meeting about the aims of the ANPR cameras
around Royston. The Minutes [3] state:

"He gave a list of camera sites, assuring Members that the aim was 'no
vehicle could enter or leave Royston without being recorded by a camera'." 

No CCTV, Privacy International and Big Brother Watch are concerned that the
Royston cameras might be part of a wider strategy to encircle towns
throughout the UK, not least as until recently the Chief Constable of
Hertfordshire Constabulary was the ACPO national lead on ANPR. 

-- ENDS --


[ 1] The full text of the No CCTV / Privacy International / Big Brother
Watch complaint is available at:

[ 2] ANPR cameras work alongside a variety of databases that can be used to
identify cars and their occupants. The data collected from the cameras is
stored in local force databases (Back Office Facility (BOF)) that may be
used alongside querying or data mining tools, and in a centralised database
(National ANPR Data Centre (NADC)). License plate photos are stored for
between two and five years and photographs of cars are stored for between 90
days and five years. 

[ 3] The minutes can be viewed online at:
D&meet=2&arc=20> &meet=2&arc=20 

Notes to editors: 

1. No CCTV is a UK group campaigning against the excessive use of
surveillance cameras in the UK. Their homepage is at For
further information contact Charles Farrier [log in to unmask] or Steve
Jolly [log in to unmask] . Last year Steve Jolly successfully fought
a campaign against a ring of steel of cameras around Birmingham known as
Project Champion. 

2. Privacy International is the oldest surviving privacy advocacy group in
the world, and was the first organisation to campaign at an international
level on privacy issues. Their homepage is at
All media contact on this issue on behalf of Privacy International is to be
handled by No CCTV as detailed above. 

3. Big Brother Watch is a campaign from the founders of the TaxPayers'
Alliance, fighting intrusions on privacy and protecting liberties. Their
homepage is at . For further information contact
Daniel Hamilton [log in to unmask] 

4. This press release may be downloaded from 





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