In the case of Hackney Council in east London, the library budget was sidelined as the surveillance network grew.
The cameras ring-fenced crime zones and troublesome estates, becoming indicators of class segregation, but they weren't as all-seeing as they were made out to be.
But in February 2005, an academic paper commissioned by the Home Office found that CCTV was not an effective deterrent to crime, nor did it make the public feel safer.
At this point, the initiative passed from central to local government.
I was reminded of him recently after being clocked by a speed camera at 82 miles per hour at on 24/04/10 on the south Tonbridge bypass in Kent.
The central mystery that remains is why the UK embraced surveillance culture far more enthusiastically than other countries, turning us into perhaps the most watched nation on earth.
What nobody seems to have logged is how much the gain in communication was at the expense of freedom of access and notions of public space: rather like being given an extra ten inches of legroom on a long-haul flight, only to find your access to the rest of the cabin restricted.
To date, no novelist or film-maker has explored properly beneath the surface of this new technology. The subject resists embellishment and irony (though Banksy tried, by sticking a CCTV camera in a Constable landscape).
A huge boost in funding followed the IRA Docklands bombing in 1996.
In the early 1990s, I met a friend of a friend who, as a victim of recession, was in the process of reinventing himself as a self-employed man with a van, flogging surveillance equipment.