A serious shortcoming has now emerged in the 2014 act. Many terrorists, criminals and paedophiles are no longer using the internet, and we need to follow them more closely. While their activities in the open are subject to surveillance cameras, they are also meeting in private houses and other premises. We thus need visual capability for complete coverage. The proposed bill supplies a vital link in the chain.
In consultation with colleagues I intend to amend building regulations to ensure that all new and converted properties have fish-eye lenses installed in ceiling cavities, with Wi-Fi cameras and appropriate power supply. A discreet camera in every room would be unnoticed and, in my view, unobjectionable.
Existing properties will be required to install them over a four-year period. These would supply real-time images of terrorists, criminals and paedophiles at any time of day and night. Any disconnection of a camera would immediately alert the police as prima facie evidence of wrongdoing. I have held talks with the industry on whether the cameras should be in bathrooms and bedrooms. It would clearly be nonsensical to exclude them, as terrorists and paedophiles often make use of these rooms.