CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

HOME AFFAIRS – CLOSED CIRCUIT TV – 12 March 2001

Dr Julian Lewis: If the Minister [Mike O'Brien] can come out of pre-election auto-rant for a second, will he tell me whether any progress has been made on a practical suggestion about CCTV that I have made on several occasions and to which he has responded positively in the past? Where shops and garages trade during antisocial hours, there should be a requirement that they have adequate CCTV coverage in the places where people have to pay – where they have to queue in vulnerable situations and could be attacked by louts. Have the Government actually done anything about that, rather than saying that they think it is a good idea – which, of course it is?

[Mr O'Brien: It is indeed a good idea, and we are agreeing on resources for the retail crime reduction partnerships. It certainly would help if those late-night shops and various other facilities –

Mr John Bercow (Buckingham): Outlets.

Mr O'Brien: Outlets, as the hon. Gentleman helpfully suggests. If the various outlets were to have CCTV outside their premises, it would assist not only those who run them, but the police; indeed, the Government are working with retail outlets in particular to try to ensure that we do that. I am a little concerned that small businesses in particular are reluctant to have extra burdens placed on them, and I am sure that the hon. Member for New Forest, East (Dr Lewis) does not want to do that. We need to take action by a process of proper discussion and negotiation with the business community, rather than by merely imposing regulations, as he seemed to suggest. I am sure that, on reflection, he would agree that the previous Government imposed far too much regulation on small businesses. The Government are trying to reduce that over-regulation, and that is one of the areas where we can make progress.]