Sir – Whilst you may have found Cowley Road traders in favour of CCTV, (Report, November 13) there are many residents of and visitors to East Oxford who are not.

And for very good reason. It may be that CCTV would reduce the insurance premium of Cowley Road businesses, but it is certain that it would not affect the incidence of crime.

In September, Police Inspector Paul Morgan (South Hams East) argued against installing cameras in Totnes, favouring instead good investigative police work. The stabbing offence mentioned in your article is a case in point — within a day of the incident the police had charged a man, without reliance on CCTV. Some may say that had CCTV been installed the stabbing would not have happened — this is not borne out by any research and as Deputy Chief Constable Graeme Gerrard (ACPO) told a parliamentary enquiry earlier this year: “. . . in terms of our town centres, where a lot of the behaviour is violent or disorderly behaviour, often fuelled by alcohol, people are not thinking rationally, they get angry and the CCTV camera is the last thing they think about . . .”

Last month, Sir Ken MacDonald, outgoing Director of Public Prosecutions warned of the dangers of the unchecked powers of state surveillance: “[. . .] we should take very great care to imagine the world we are creating before we build it. We might end up living with something we can’t bear.”

CCTV is a costly technology. Your article refers to expected costs of “about £48,000”. In fact the budgetary costs produced by Optimum Security Ltd in March 2008 put the cost between £58,400+VAT and £87,400+VAT, with additional ongoing maintenance and monitoring costs.

The fact is that no one should ever view CCTV cameras as protection. The only thing they ever do is film crime, they do not prevent it. Better community reduces crime, technology does not.

Charles Farrier, No CCTV Campaign, Oxford