RESTAURANT KITCHENS should be fitted with CCTV cameras amid growing public fears over food safety.
That's the opinion of CCTV.co.uk one of the UK's leading installers of CCTV systems who believes that customers need to be protected from rogue food outlets with poor food hygiene records, a view backed by up to three-quarters of its customers.
The CCTV.co.uk company is convinced that the threat of inspectors and concerned members of the public looking over the shoulder of kitchen staff will improve food safety where other attempts at enforcement have struggled.
"People worry about where their food comes from, particularly in takeaway establishments," says CCTV.co.uk's Jonathan Ratcliffe, "and this would be an important step towards peace of mind."
According to figures obtained by the company, 73% of people questioned thought that CCTV in restaurant kitchens would be a good idea.
- 93% who supported the idea wanted footage relayed to a screen front-of-house
- 67% who supported the idea thought footage should only be available to local authority officials or Police
Ratcliffe is convinced that mandatory cameras would be just another weapon in the battle against bad practice and dirty kitchens in the food service industry.
However, despite regular inspections by public health officials and the relative success of 'Scores on the Doors' schemes, some businesses need the extra nudge that cameras could bring.
"A huge majority of businesses would have nothing to fear," he says, "and some owners we've spoken to would actually welcome the initiative."
However, CCTV admits there'd be resistance from some restaurant and takeaway owners, and there's certain to be a conversation over the human rights of staff being watched.
"CCTV should be allowed and used as a stick to improve failing food outlets," says Ratcliffe. "The threat that health inspectors could call for copies of footage at any time should be enough to concentrate the minds of those who put profit before public health."
"CCTV would result in cleaner kitchens. I have no doubt."