HIDDEN cameras in council homes across Hounslow have avoided £50,000 legal fees and reduced antisocial behaviour, it is claimed.
Violent tenants have been evicted and evidence of drug-dealing gathered after the secret recording devices were introduced three years ago as part of a CCTV system by Hounslow Homes, which manages more than 16,000 homes on behalf of the council.
The cameras can be hidden in everyday household objects with a tenant's knowledge to capture evidence of a range of antisocial behaviours, including tenants who are noisy neighbours and domestic violence.
The spy cameras help speed evidence-gathering and deter offenders, say bosses at Hounslow Homes.
Peter Jordan of the housing association, said: “The cameras delivered impressive results from the start, providing compelling video evidence that led to a significant increase in successful prosecutions, enabling us to take immediate and decisive action to improve the living environment for residents.
“They have also helped us achieve a rapid return on investment by speeding up the whole legal process. I would estimate this has delivered savings of more than £50,000 over the last three years by speeding up the evidence-gathering process and reducing court appearance costs as perpetrators are presented with indisputable images of their crimes.”
He cited the example of one resident who had been viciously attacked by a neighbour and was living in fear until a hidden camera was placed in his flat and the neighbour was subsequently evicted.
Hounslow Homes has also fitted warden vehicles with windscreen-mounted cameras to capture evidence of antisocial behaviour and drug-dealing.