Aberdeen University is planning a high-tech addition to its historic King's College campus - 11 closed circuit television cameras, writes Olga Wojtas.
The university is awaiting approval for the Pounds 100,000 scheme from Aberdeen District Council's planning department, but hopes that 24-hour monitoring of car parks, buildings, streets and paths will be in place within three months. The university will fund the bulk of the scheme, with Pounds 10,000 from the Aberdeen Safer Cities Project. Harry Wight, Aberdeen's director of estates, said: "The installation of CCTV follows a periodic review of security at the university. With more than 13,000 employees and students, safety is obviously of paramount concern and this new state-of-the-art technology will enhance our efforts to date."
Aberdeen is reputedly one of the safest campuses in the country, and no attacks have been reported in the area. But Ron Bird, president of the Students Representative Council, admits that students can feel insecure late at night in its picturesque cobbled streets and narrow alleys. He has reservations about the "Big Brother" aspect of the cameras, but believes the potential benefits outweigh this, particularly after assurances from the university that CCTV will complement rather than replacesecurity patrols.
But there is nothing but praise from Strathclyde University students for three cameras in its campus as part of Glasgow's Citywatch scheme. There had been some "fairly violent incidents" in a landscaped area near the students' union, says students' association president Liam McMonagle, but safety has improved following the installation of CCTV.