LONDON - Britain on Thursday instructed government departments to stop installing security cameras made by companies subject to Chinese security laws, disconnect such devices from core computer networks and to consider removing them altogether.

The order, set out in a written statement to parliament by cabinet office minister Oliver Dowden, said the decision had been taken following a review of "current and future possible security risks associated with the installation of visual surveillance systems on the government estate".

"The review has concluded that, in light of the threat to the UK and the increasing capability and connectivity of these systems, additional controls are required," Dowden said.

"Departments have therefore been instructed to cease deployment of such equipment onto sensitive sites, where it is produced by companies subject to the National Intelligence Law of the People’s Republic of China.

"Since security considerations are always paramount around these sites, we are taking action now to prevent any security risks materialising."

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar, writing by William James; Editing by Kate Holton)