Yorkshire man's celeb-backed campaign for CCTV in care homes

Campaigner Tony Stowell was presented with a Best Heroes Award from Eamonn Holmes last yearCampaigner Tony Stowell was presented with a Best Heroes Award from Eamonn Holmes last year
Campaigner Tony Stowell was presented with a Best Heroes Award from Eamonn Holmes last year

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A Yorkshire man is campaigning for compulsory CCTV in care homes to help tackle elder abuse.

Tony Stowell has received support from celebrities such as Coleen Nolan and X Factor runner-up Andy Abraham for his campaign which he started when a family member went into a care home.

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The Hull resident is calling for a change in the law to make cameras in residential homes compulsory, especially in areas like bedrooms and bathrooms where abuse most commonly takes place.

“Cameras will not stop everything but they can give family members some transparency,” he said.

A survey carried out earlier this year revealed 45 per cent of care home staff do not have any CCTV in their workplace.

Mr Stowell is hoping the government will create new laws as a matter of urgency to address this and bring Britain into line with countries like the Netherlands, where CCTV in care homes is the norm.

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Last year, the Care Quality Commission received more than 67,000 allegations of abuse - a figure that has almost doubled in five years.

Though many people told him there is not enough money in the social care system to improve standards, Mr Stowell disagreed.

“I believe there’s plenty of money because if the Queen was in a care home she’d get the best care out there.

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“People might say ‘well that’s the Queen’. But someone’s mum is the Queen to them.”

Mr Stowell said being a care worker was a very challenging job and in many cases they did “fabulous” work.

“I know how hard the job is - it’s the most difficult job. But they’re looking after the most precious people in our lives. The system worries me.

“My question is, why are they on minimum wage? Why are they not getting awards? They’re not recognised enough, they’re looked down upon.”

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Mr Stowell’s campaign is represented by a celebrity agent and on a pro-bono basis by a lawyer but he insists the campaign is not about him.

“I would love to do this anonymously instead,” he added.

A spokesperson from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which regulates the private use of CCTV, said: “Recording and sharing CCTV images of any identifiable individuals needs to be done in line with data protection laws. This includes letting people know that you are collecting the footage, keeping the images secure, and only disclosing the images when it is necessary to do so.

“If anyone has concerns about how their data has been handled, they can report these concerns to the ICO and we can look into the details.”

The Department of Health and Social Care declined to comment.