The 15 Most Watched Cities In The UK (2024)

CCTV and surveillance equipment has fast become a mainstay across the UK. Whether it’s on our public transport networks, our high streets, or simply on our routes home from work or school, the presence of monitoring cameras has quickly become an accepted and commonplace part of our day-to-day lives.

However, while the safety and security benefits of CCTV are well-documented and wide-reaching, it can still present a cause for concern for some. That’s especially true with the notion of a “Big Brother” government, which some see as a step in the wrong direction, or – in the worst case scenario – an invasion of privacy.

As a huge advocate for private security, and having long been committed to ensuring everyone’s safety and wellbeing, Churchill Support Services understands that. With those polarised viewpoints, we feel the best course of action is transparent reporting and an unbiased view of the most watched cities in the UK.

We’ve collated all the data, and in our latest article, we’ll be counting down the cities with the most CCTV cameras UK-wide, what that means for your safety, and what you can do to better ensure the continued safeguarding of yourself, your staff and your premises.


How We’ve Sourced & Displayed Our Data

While information CCTV camera can notoriously (for good reason, we’d add) be difficult to ascertain, we’ve utilised every resource we can to ensure that we provide the most up-to-date, accurate data.

That includes checking numerous governmental resources for cities UK-wide, as well as using Freedom of Information (FOI) requests submitted over the last few years to better ensure we’re fairly representing our top 15 most monitored cities in the UK.

We’ve also extensively sought out independently-curated lists and information to gain a clearer picture of where the information we’re presenting comes from, and what it means for those who’ve laid down roots there.

That includes our own resources, especially given our proven track record with information on the most dangerous areas across the UK, as well as the crime rates in congested areas like London.

We’ll be using the long-held theory that there’s approximately one CCTV camera for every 13 people across the country, and extrapolating that across every area to determine the most watched city in the UK.

Although this only gives a rough estimate, it’s simply not feasible to understand exactly how many businesses, private properties and premises have security monitoring and surveillance in place, and doing so would be a breach of both information protection laws, and the privacy of the individuals involved.

Instead, we’ll be using official figures published by relevant city councils and local area government, alongside our formula, in order to give you a clear indicator of how well (or poorly) monitored a city is. We’ll then rank them based on the number of cameras in that city, with cities that are more watched being closer to the top of the list.


How Many CCTV Cameras Are There In The UK?

This is a tricky question to answer, in all honesty. As we’ve already touched upon, it’s extremely difficult to work out exactly how many privately-owned or business security cameras there are across the UK.

That’s complicated further by the advent of more commonplace technologies and innovations like doorbell cameras and dashcams, all of which have the capacity to record footage in a similar way to many of the CCTV cameras we see on the streets.

However, numerous estimates do exist, all of which place the UK high on the global list of the most heavily monitored countries. In fact, one of the most widely accepted estimates stems from initial research conducted in 2015 by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA)

This places the UK’s total number of security cameras at around 5,200,000 (5.2 million), or around one CCTV camera for every 13 people living in the UK. This has remained a consistent figure, with the number of cameras growing in a similar pattern to the rising population.

That’s further supported by more independent research from a cross-section of different researchers and amalgamations of wider studies and Freedom of Information requests, all of which support the long-held theory of both 1 CCTV camera per 13 people, and around 5.2 million cameras nationwide.

Of course, these are not evenly distributed throughout the UK, with many rural areas and smaller towns and villages relying solely on privately-owned security cameras, or a very small, self-contained network of cameras.

Let’s break those numbers down further by looking at data from city and borough councils, and see where we’ll find the UK’s most watched cities.


The 15 Most Monitored Cities In The UK

We’ll take the 15 most watched cities from across the UK, and look at how your local area stacks up against some of the UK’s largest and most well-renowned areas.


15. Nottingham

Approximately 25,484 CCTV Cameras City-Wide

From figures of myth in Robin Hood, to more tangible legend status in the form of its European Cup-winning football team, Nottingham is one of Britain’s most vibrant metropolises. Coupling traditional Tudor frontages with the imposing archways of Exchange Arcade, it’s clear to see the draws that Nottingham has.

However, with an estimated 25,484 CCTV cameras across Nottingham, and just 262 of these being part of the city council’s centrally monitored network, it makes our list of the most monitored cities UK-wide. That’s for good reason, of course – Nottingham’s crime rate has seen continual rises to the pandemic, and sits at around 125.3 crimes per 1000 residents.


14. Wakefield

Approximately 26,456 CCTV Cameras City-Wide

Formerly an ancient market town that’s seen significant facelifts and reimagining in recent years, Wakefield now finds itself as an ambassador for life in West Yorkshire. That’s best reflected in the city’s commitment to culture and commerce, with the Theatre Royal and local markets ensuring locals and tourists alike can experience all the city has to offer.

However, Wakefield has also seen a thorough modernisation of its monitoring, with around 26,456 CCTV cameras across the city, 177 of which are operated by the city council. For those in the city’s up-and-coming business scene, that level of surveillance will perhaps come as no surprise, with recent reports highlighting the concerns entrepreneurs have.


13. Coventry

Approximately 26,563 CCTV Cameras City-Wide

Perhaps most known for its glittering skyline that juxtaposes the sleek modernity of the Whittle Arch against the more traditional spires of the cathedral and council buildings, Coventry epitomises the melding of culture across the UK’s cities. That’s only set to continue, with further developments planned as we move into 2024 and beyond.

With those planned rejuvenations naturally comes monitoring, though. The latest estimates place the number of CCTV cameras in Coventry at 26,563, with 273 of these run by the local council. All of this is undoubtedly aiming to tackle Coventry’s major issues with crime, with the city’s overall rate sitting at a worrying 110.7 crimes per 1000 residents – its highest figures on record.


12. Leicester

Approximately 27,492 CCTV Cameras City-Wide

While the UK is well-known for its sense of history, Leicester is probably one of the more standout examples of that, with evidence of settlements dating back more than 2000 years. As you’d expect, Leicester has flourished since then, quickly becoming one of England’s most populous cities, and one of its most infamous in culture, commerce and sport.

That reputation does come at a price, however, with the city monitored by an estimated 27,492 CCTV cameras, 468 of which are owned and monitored by the city council. That’s only set to increase as reports of civil unrest make local newspaper headlines, and Leicester’s crime hits an 8 year high of 127.8 crimes per 1000 residents.


11. Cardiff

Approximately 27,870 CCTV Cameras City-Wide

The Welsh capital, and a major hub for the country’s sporting and cultural heritage in its own right, Cardiff’s cobbled streets and sunlit Bay area prove to be an attractive prospect for many. That’s most comprehensively reflected in its growing population figures, with the latest census showing some 359,000 people calling Cardiff home.

With such a burgeoning population, though, it’ll perhaps be unsurprising to see Cardiff on the list of the most watched cities in the UK. There’s an estimated 27,870 CCTV cameras across the UK, with the city’s council running an impressive 1022 of those – one of the largest proportions we’ve seen so far in our list of the most monitored cities in the UK.



Approximately 35,931 CCTV Cameras City-Wide

A major component of Britain’s part in the Industrial Revolution, Bristol has quickly become a huge hub for students and travellers alike with its prestigious universities and Temple Meads station. That doesn’t mean the city has compromised on its keen sense of history, however, with landmarks like its cathedral and Cabot Tower still harking back to those mechanical roots.

Altogether more modern is Bristol’s stance on surveillance, with conservative estimates placing the number of CCTV cameras in Bristol at 35,931, with 1274 cameras operated by the local council. That level of coverage has unfortunately become a necessity, with Bristol’s crime rate sitting at the highest it’s ever been – 97.7 crimes per 1000 residents.



Approximately 38,214 CCTV Cameras City-Wide

The glittering jewel in the crowning coastline of Merseyside, there’s much to draw potential visitors to Liverpool. Whether it’s the vibrant and raucous nightlife, the city’s myriad museums and cultural attractions, or a sporting scene that’s rarely matched, you’d be hard pressed to find a more complete city experience.

It’s perhaps not advisable for the escapists, however, with Liverpool’s 38,214 CCTV cameras earning it a well-deserved spot on our countdown of the UK’s most watched cities. In that number is a staggering 1495 council-operated cameras, one of the largest proportions we’ve seen so far, and undoubtedly a response to the city’s climbing crime figures.


8. Edinburgh

Approximately 40,498 CCTV Cameras City-Wide

Scotland’s capital, and the seat of both royalty and national government, Edinburgh has an illustrious reputation. From its winding cobblestone streets and tree-lined avenues, to the iconic monuments in Arthur’s Seat and the eponymous castle, Edinburgh couples a keen sense of heritage and Scottish pride with the modernity and convenience you’d expect of a capital city.

That modernity also means a substantial amount of surveillance, with Edinburgh being home to an estimated 40,498 CCTV cameras throughout its labyrinthine streets and nightlife hotspots, 205 of which are owned and manned by the local government. It’s initiatives like these that have doubtless contributed towards the city’s lower rate of crime, which sits at 61.6 crimes per 1000 residents.


7. Bradford

Approximately 41,306 CCTV Cameras City-Wide

One of Yorkshire’s most prominent cities, and a melting pot of multiculture and metropolitanism, it’s easy to understand why the city has been named as the UK’s designated City of Culture for 2025. With wide-reaching roots in film, music, sport and artistic pursuits, as well as a rich tapestry of history in commerce and entrepreneurship, Bradford holds significant sway on a national stage.

The nationwide lens placed on the city has no doubt contributed to the levels of surveillance that Bradford sees, with an estimated 41,306 CCTV cameras monitoring the streets. That number is supplemented by more than 400 public CCTV cameras, covered by Bradford’s city council, all of which are positioned to strategically tackle the issues the city faces with criminal behaviour.


6. Manchester

Approximately 42,556 CCTV Cameras City-Wide

Unofficially designated as the UK’s “second city” after the capital, a deeper look at Manchester reveals how it’s earned that infamy. Integral in the British music and sporting scenes, a thriving hub of national and international travel, and a veritable omnipresence in many of the UK’s historic and current industries, the city more than warrants its roaring reputation.

Manchester’s citizens are under substantial monitoring, though, with a reported 42,556 CCTV cameras across the city, 1195 (or about 2.8%) of which are watched over by the city’s council.  While this may come as a concern to some, it’s no doubt in response to the soaring crime rate that plagues Manchester, which sits at an alarming 180.7 crimes per 1000 residents.


5. Sheffield

Approximately 44,925 CCTV Cameras City-Wide

One of the largest cities in one of England’s most expansive counties, Sheffield sprawls at the foot of the Pennines, taking in the customary Yorkshire countryside and contrasting it with the modern trappings of one England’s most up-and-coming cities. From the singing stands of Brammall Lane, to the bright minds of the city’s university, there’s much to bring the discerning journeyman to Sheffield.

With such popularity naturally comes the need for effective surveillance and monitoring, and Sheffield more than meets that quota. There’s an estimated 44,925 CCTV cameras across the city, with just 159 controlled by the city council. That’s sparked controversy locally, especially as the city’s crime rate hit an 8 year high at 102.7 crimes per 1000 residents.


4. Glasgow

Approximately 48,856 CCTV Cameras City-Wide

A far-reaching and expansive metropolitan area, and officially Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow admittedly faces an uphill struggle with its reputation, and unfairly so. Sweeping vistas and sleek skylines dominate the Pacific Quay in the city’s southern reaches, while the West End plays host to the opulence and elegance of townhouses, art galleries and botanic gardens.

It may come as no surprise, however, that Glasgow cements a place on the countdown of the most watched cities in the UK. With a hefty 48,856 CCTV cameras across the full reach of the city area, it’s perhaps equally surprising that a huge portion (5352 CCTV cameras, or 11%) are operated by the city council in a bid to reduce the city’s soaring rate of violent crime (11,603 incidents).


3. Leeds

Approximately 60,963 CCTV Cameras City-Wide

One of Northern England’s most crucial economic and cultural hubs, you might expect Leeds to be as closely compacted and dense as many other cities across the UK. However, with a swathe of green belt land bisecting the city, and a careful consideration of the infamous dales upon which Leeds is situated, the city offers a well-struck balance between tranquillity and modern convenience.

That’s not to say that Leeds doesn’t have what we’d normally expect of a city this size and stature. 60,963 CCTV cameras, inclusive of the 376 run by the local government, offer the semblance of safety needed in inner-city areas. It’s clear that much work is still needed, though, especially given the city’s exceptionally high (and still rising) crime rate of 172.4 crimes per 1000 residents.


2. Birmingham

Approximately 88,384 CCTV Cameras City-Wide

The UK’s second-largest city by population, Birmingham finds itself in somewhat of a renaissance. That’s largely down to the thriving economy, which is also the second-largest outside of England’s south east. Coupling that with major transportation points in Birmingham New Street and the West Midlands airport, the foot traffic of Brimingham is fast approaching that of similar cities UK-wide.

It stands to reason, then, that Birmingham would also occupy the number 2 spot on our list of the most watched cities in the UK. With a staggering 88,384 CCTV cameras across the city, 393 of which are operated by the council, it’s clear that there’s concerns. There is hope, however – while issues are still prevalent, there’s already plans in motion for further investment and focus.



Approximately 690,923 CCTV Cameras City-Wide

Not much can be said about the UK’s capital that hasn’t already been committed to the written or spoken word. There’s much to wax lyrical about, of course – whether you’re looking to take in a world-leading show, experience a microcosmic view of Britain’s spectrum of cultures, or simply absorb the atmosphere of the world’s 15th most populated city, London is the only place to do so.

It’ll come as no surprise, then, that London tops the list of the UK’s most watched cities. An estimated 690,923 CCTV cameras are spread across the city, with 63,449 public CCTV cameras included within that figure throughout London’s boroughs and the TfL network, as well as Metropolitan Police CCTV cameras and bodycams.

Looking closer, we find several London boroughs with substantial numbers of security cameras:

  • Total Public CCTV Cameras Across London Borough – 20,873
    • Hillingdon – 2,328 CCTV cameras
    • Hammersmith & Fulham – 1,852 CCTV cameras
    • Wandsworth – 1,252 CCTV cameras
    • City of London – 1,100 CCTV cameras
    • Enfield – 1,053 CCTV cameras

On the London Underground network, we find similar figures, with some stations having a greater share of the camera network for a variety of reasons. This could be down to the property and businesses that surround the station and their value or vulnerability, to the prevalence of criminal activity in that area. Let’s break down the top 5 most watched stations on the London Underground:

  • Total Cameras On The London Underground (Tube) Network – 16,391
    • King’s Cross & St. Pancras – 408 CCTV cameras
    • Oxford Circus – 309 CCTV cameras
    • Waterloo – 303 CCTV cameras
    • Green Park – 210 CCTV cameras
    • Elephant & Castle – 190 CCTV cameras

Ultimately, all of this CCTV is a countermeasure to combat London’s soaring crime statistics. While we’ve previously done a fully comprehensive breakdown of London’s most dangerous areas and how their crime statistics stack up against the city as a whole, suffice it to say that the city faces a substantial struggle when it comes to combatting criminal behaviour.

With an overall crime rate of 114 crimes per 1000 residents, and figures steadily creeping up as we head into a new year, more effective security measures are still needed for the capital and, as we’ve seen from this list of the most watched cities in the UK, cities across the country.

Emily Macaulay

Director of Sales

Emily is responsible for business growth and account development via new sales. She leads the Business Development teams through strategic goals and objectives in line with business targets and strategy. Emily is a friendly, approachable and a respected senior manager at Churchill who always strives to deliver service excellence.