Does this reassure you? Do you choose the location for your grocery spending based on such security measures? Is the subtext here one of “our chosen demographic is thieving scum”? Research from the USA suggests staff do most of the nicking in shops. Next time you’re in a supermarket, notice how the cctv cameras over the tills are keeping an eye on the checkout staff.
In the Face of Fear, a report published before the last general election by the Mental Health Foundation, says three quarters of people think the world is a more frightening place than it was a decade ago.
It goes on:
“Social policy aimed at controlling risk and quelling fear often seems to increase it. Creating visible signs of security [CCTV] may make some people more fearful, as they sense high security must mean high risk”.
The report’s summary says:
“We have greater material wealth than previous generations, but there is evidence that this may lead to greater fear, even for those who are comparatively wealthy. By placing a high value on possessions and appearances, we may be responsible for creating higher levels of anxiety on either side of the wealth divide”.
And the report concludes:
“What and how we fear is influenced by our social situation. None of us has full control over this – we have varying degrees of power over, for example, our educational opportunities, housing, employment and family connections. Those of us with less power tend also to be more socially excluded, and more likely to experience high levels of fear.”
So I am pleased to announce the launch of The Ministry of Fear to spread alarm and photograph it. This is a welcome development of The Committee For Public Safety, wot I launched last year. Stay tuned for more info, not to mention a website.
Back to the photo. A Co-op store in Stockport had a similar life sized cardboard cut-out of a police officer (one Bob Molloy) sad to say, it was stolen and despite the culprits being caught on cctv, the quasi PC never came back.