Eye in the sky 9
In a matter of seconds. the camera zooms from the top of Hope Street to a close up of the bottom end. where it meets Argyle Street at Central Station. Magniﬁed sixteen times. the people walking past the AA shopfront can be clearly picked out on screen.
This is Citywatch. Glasgow‘s controversial security camera scheme which. after a number of false starts. went live last week. The pictures from the 32 closed circuit television cameras sited around the city centre are scanned 24 hours a day in shifts by the long- term unemployed.
‘I don't mind people talking about Big Brother. but I would change one word.‘ says Superintendent Jim Moulson. the man in charge of the operation. ‘Big Brother is watching over you. This is a caring system.‘
The objective is to make the Glasgow’s city centre one of Europe‘s safest. by cutting down on opportunist crime. ‘We are trying to switch the fear from people using the centre to potential criminals.‘ says Moulson. ‘Because it is opportunist crime we are targeting. if peoplejust think twice about the fact that cameras may be watching. you can cut it significantly.‘
The city centre's resident population is relatively small — around l().()()() — but during the day this figure rises to around 400,000 with shoppers and workers becoming a target for
Watching the detectives: behind the scenes at Citywatch
criminals who can blend in with the crowds. ‘The cameras will remove that advantage.‘ says Moulson. Although he is happy to talk about the scheme as a crime deterrent. Morrison was reluctant to comment on how useful the pictures would be during day-to-day policing operations. ‘It has already been of considerable use to us.‘ he says.
For camera operator John Charman. the job is a blessing. ‘l was unemployed for twenty months. but some of the others have not worked for four or five years.‘ he says. As he talks. Charrnan trains the camera on the queue at the Clydesdale Bank in front of the St Enoch Centre. He has no misgivings about watching other people. though he has yet to spot a friend. ‘Ifl did see my sister or
someone else I knew. I‘d think “fair enough“.‘ says Charman.
The Scottish Council for Civil Liberties has voiced concern that no regulations govern the operation of
5 camera systems. but Moulson insists
measures are in place to avoid abuse. ‘Some of the cameras would be capable of seeing into domestic windows. for
E instance. but we won't tolerate that.‘ he
says. The scheme is on probation; it has been set a target of 2.5 million additional visits to the city centre. bringing in an extra £25().()()(). The Glasgow Development Agency needs
: to raise more than £500.0(X) to keep
Citywatch operating. or the scheme could close within eighteen months. (Stephen Naysmith)
All ﬁred up
In a move to rival last year’s Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh, Glasgow will be staging a series of events scheduled on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Determined not to be out-shone by Edinburgh’s plans for a bigger, more elaborate Hogmanay event this year, Glasgow will also stage a New Year hash of its own, though the programme remains under wraps.
Festivities in both cities will be organised by Unique Events (in association with Brighton’s Zapp club
in Glasgow), the company behind Edinburgh’s Hogmanay last year. ‘Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is set to be the biggest winter festival in Britain, if not Europe,’ says Unique’s Pete Irvine. An estimated 100,000 visitors are expected to gather in Edinburgh’s city centre — an increase of 30,000 on last year. With the support of the British Tourist Authority and the Scottish Tourist Board, it is hoped the festivities will bring visitors to the city outwith the traditionally busy summer months.
“1“ ' . a Edinbor" 's fiagmanay: continuing the fire theme
Events will include a Concert in the Gardens headlined by liunrig; Thrum and Mouthmusic playing at the foot of the Mound; specially commissioned street theatre; fireworks, and the New Year Revels at the Assembly Rooms. The BBC’s countdown to midnight will be broadcast nationwide from Glasgow and Edinburgh. (lila Rawlings)
For information on Edinburgh’s Hogmanay call 031 557 3990; Christmas Events for Glasgow call 041 227 5188.
I Forest Fiesta An evening to beneﬁt both the Pollok Free State campaigners against the M77 extension and Tigress. a new Nicaraguan reforestation campaign. will be held at the Unemployed Worker's Centre. l03 Broughton Street. Edinburgh on Sat 19 Nov from 7.30pm. The entertainment includes samba. folk and Andean music with drumming. Tickets cost £3 (£2) on the door.
I Pole Positions The appropriately named Daniel Snowman will give a lecture to the Royal Scottish Geographical Society about the Polar regions and their importance to the future of the planet. The lecture will take place at the Boyd ()rr Building. Glasgow University on Wed 23 Nov at 7.30pm. Entry £4 (RSGS members free). Details from 5 Hamilton on 041 552 3330.
l Anti-Racist Demo Sat 26 Nov is the big date in the anti-racist and fascist activist's calendar. with a march and rally traditionally held on the Saturday closest to St Andrew's Day. Assemble with banners at Blythswood Square. Glasgow from 10.30am. March off at llam to the City Halls. for the rally at noon. Main speaker will be Kumar Murshid. chair of the Tower Hamlets anti-racist campaign. who will be talking about the group‘s action against the BNP.
l Demolishing The Past: latest news from Tibet Robbie Barnett of the Tibet Information Network will be giving a talk at the John Mclntyre Large Hall. University Avenue. Glasgow. on Sat 26 Nov at 7.30pm. The event is part ofa weekend of actiy ities organised by Scottish Tibet support groups. Details from E Brough on 041 339 8466. Entry £1 (50p).
I Burn Your Bills! On Tue 29 Nov. take your fuel bills along to the bottom of The Mound. Edinburgh at 5.30pm for incineration to mark the increase of VAT on domestic fuel expected in the budget. Fiery entertainments and speakers. Take drums and whistles.
I World AIDS Day The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is the family. AIDS affects everyone. so wear your ribbon with pride. See Agenda story (left). Sir Ian McKellen feature and various listings sections for details. Other events include:
flight Without light Edinburgh. Thurs I. 5pm. The floodlighting and Christmas lights will be switched off for seven minutes (one second per Scottish death from AIDS), with rockets from Calton Hill marking the start and ﬁnish ofthe lights out.
Walk and Candlelit Vigil Edinburgh. Thurs l. 6.15pm. Assemble 6pm. Waterloo Place, then march to the Mound for a vigil. Warm up afterwards with a free buffet for participants at Insinuendo's. Picardy Place.
We Are Family Glasgow, Thurs I, 6.45pm. A service for all those who are affected by HIV and to commemorate those who have died of AIDS will be held in the Winter Gardens of the People's Palace. Glasgow Green.
I If you have news of any events or courses you want publicised in this column, please forward them to ‘Action’ at The list, 14 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TE and include a day- time phone number.
The List 18 November—I December I994