Letters: Our focus should be on more police, not worthless cameras

I TOTALLY agree with the view expressed in your leader on CCTV ("All too often the eye in the sky is blind", News, 15 June) that we are getting a very poor deal from this expensive technology.

In my opinion, while we have to put up with a highly intrusive surveillance state, it is doing very little to protect us from crime.

However, this conclusion is consistent with most reputable research into the effectiveness of CCTV. Thus, while CCTV can be very useful in certain limited situations, such as in car parks, there has been no evidence that its widespread use in urban areas is at all cost-effective in deterring or catching criminals.

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One has, indeed, to ask why this country has developed such a bizarre obsession with CCTV. For although we have more cameras here than in the rest of Europe put together, there is no evidence that this country has become significantly safer than the others as a result.

Some people say that they feel safer in an area having CCTV coverage. This is, however, a dangerous deception, because in reality it will be offering them very little in the way of protection. It would therefore be much better to withdraw most of this expensive, high-maintenance equipment and spend the money instead on more police officers on the streets.

Dr John Welford, Boat Green, Edinburgh

PM's Afghan visit was ill-advised

LAST week it was reported that our Prime Minister was prevented from going to the front line in Afghanistan due to the enemy wanting to down his helicopter.

What on earth was he thinking of when he wanted to go to the front line? Is this not putting an extra burden on our already stretched troops?

I am quite sure it is good to get a visit from any prime minister in the proper circumstances. It will help to bolster moral, but if our Prime Minister wants to go to the front line should he not join up and go as a soldier?

Just lately we have had a whole host of government ministers going to this war zone as if it was just down the road, and it appears that many of them are rubber necking rather than serving any meaningful purpose.

During the Second World War Winston Churchill was prevented from going to the front line, as was King George, for obvious reasons. So why are we allowing such high-profile people to do it now when the enemy is fighting a dirty war? Would this not be one of the biggest preventable coups ever if the enemy were to strike a lucky hit with any of our government ministers or royals?

Andrew Murphy, Royal Mile, Edinburgh

City too far down the line to quit

I agree entirely with Jim Taylor (Letters, 15 June) that it would be folly to abandon the tram project at this stage. It beggars belief that the deputy leader of our council seriously thinks we should throw away 350 million of public money already spent on the scheme, especially when 26 brand new trams are on their way here.

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The deputy leader should direct his energies into finding a competent project manager to take over from TIE, and making sure that any new contracts with replacement contractors are properly drafted.

No other new tram scheme in Europe has gone so badly wrong, and the council should be ashamed that it has just sat back and watched.

Robert Drysdale, Primrose Bank Road, Edinburgh

Out of tune with the horn of Africa

The only way to enjoy the 2010 FIFA World Cup is to turn the sound off.

Up until last Friday I had never heard of vuvuzelas that permeate every match but now they're ruining my enjoyment of this wonderful tournament.

It's bad enough listening to the drones of the garrulous pundits during each game without being subjected to this additional din.

No wonder poor Robert Green dropped the ball during the England-USA match, he must have thought he was being attacked by a swarm of bees.

The winners of World Cup 2010 will undoubtedly be manufacturers of aspirin and alcohol.

Frank Murphy, Greenfield Road, Balerno