HOUNSLOW Council spends more on CCTV than any other London borough, new figures reveal.
The authority splashed out nearly £3.6 million installing and operating cameras across the borough between 2007 and 2010, according to statistics from campaign group Big Brother Watch (BBW).
That makes it the fifth biggest spender in the UK, ahead of Manchester and only just behind Edinburgh. Birmingham topped the list, having shelled out a massive £10.5m.
Figures obtained by BBW under the Freedom of Information Act show that the 336 local councils that responded spent a total of nearly £315m during the period.
Alex Deane, director of the campaign group, said: "This is a shocking figure. Public money is being wasted on snooping surveillance that does next to nothing to prevent or solve crime.
"We are being watched more than ever before, and we're being ripped off into the bargain. British taxpayers will be scandalised to see their money being thrown away like this in the current economic climate."
Hounslow's previous Tory-led administration installed more than 100 cameras across the borough between 2006 and 2010 and the new Labour group has pledged to use CCTV in 'crime hotspots'.
CCTV cameras have caused controversy in parts of the borough where they have been used for parking enforcement without residents and shopkeepers being warned.
A council spokesman said: "In 2006 the council executive approved the introduction of a CCTV parking enforcement system. At the time, we were one of the only London boroughs not to have this in place.
"In 2008, the executive released a promise to introduce additional CCTV in town centres to get up to speed with other local authorities, taking the number from 24 to 165. This ensures a more effective method of protecting residents and assisting in the prevention and prosecution of crime."