Launching a state of the art system in Chelmsford, Mr Maclean said that when CCTV is used as part of a package of crime prevention measures it reduces crime significantly.
'CCTV works - there is absolutely no doubt about that. It is one of the best crime-cracking tools the police have, and it will get better.
'And schemes launched recently include Belfast, Guildford and Rochdale.
'Recent misleading reports try to criticise CCTV. They're rubbish. CCTV is working - the police and everyone who lives and works in areas with CCTV know that it reduces crime.
'And I want CCTV cameras to help beat criminals in far more parts of this country.
'CCTV will grow even more to become one of the 21st Century's most important weapons in the battle against crime.' Mr Maclean said CCTV can:
-- prevent crime happening in the first place by deterring would-be criminals;
-- assist the police in the investigation of crime;
-- identify suspected criminals;
-- convict the guilty; and
-- reduce fear of crime on the streets.
The 19-camera system - which will cover Chelmsford town centre - received £100,000 home office funding from its £5 million CCTV competition fund.
Bids for a slice of £15 million home office cash in a new competition have to be received by 29 March 1996.
Mr Maclean added:
'Chelmsford's CCTV scheme is an excellent example of what can be achieved when the local community and police work together to fight crime.
'There seems to me to be a real desire to use CCTV to its fullest potential to help rid our streets of crime. Chelmsford is no exception.'