The Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter, has launched a national surveillance camera strategy for England and Wales, which has been endorsed by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA). According to the BSIA, the strategy aims to provide direction and leadership in the surveillance camera community to enable system operators to understand good and best practice and their legal obligations (such as those contained within the Protection of Freedoms Act, Data Protection Act and Private Security Industry Act).
James Kelly, Chief Executive of the BSIA, said “The strategy is a very worthy and successful attempt to draw together the multiple stakeholders across a diverse and critically important sector. The BSIA is proud to have been a contributor to the Commissioner’s efforts at providing direction and leadership on the appropriate use of such systems to secure the protection of our communities whilst protecting individuals’ rights to privacy. “I am delighted to endorse the strategy and will continue to support the Commissioner’s work on standards and best practice in this vital part of the UK economy.”
It is the Commissioner’s strategic vision to ensure the public are assured that any use of surveillance camera systems in a public place helps to protect and keep them safe, whilst respecting the individual’s right to privacy. That assurance is based upon deployment which is proportionate to a legitimate purpose, and transparency which demonstrates compliance with best and good practice and relevant legal obligations. To support achieving the Commissioner’s vision, eleven high level objectives are outlined within the strategy, each led by an expert.
Chairman of the BSIA’s CCTV section and Lead of the Industry Strand of the national surveillance camera strategy for England and Wales, Simon Adcock, added “The work of the industry strand of the national strategy is focussed on educating buyers on what to expect from a knowledgeable, professional service provider as well as providing practical guidance to help them comply with the Code of Practice. Ultimately, we are aiming to establish and promote a set of guidelines to ensure that buyers can rely on their service providers for at least good practice. Over the coming months, the Industry Strand will be defining what we mean by good practice, but it will be centred around ensuring that there is an operational requirement and that the resulting system meets agreed objectives. Our end-game is to ensure that anyone providing professional video surveillance services will, as a minimum standard, meet these good practice guidelines.
“The strategy represents an opportunity for the industry – through working with the Commissioner – to assure the public that video surveillance systems are being used in public spaces legitimately, responsibly and transparently, in order to keep them safe. The strategy is fully supported by members of the BSIA’s CCTV section and we look forward to seeing the strategy delivered through to 2020.” The strategy aligns closely to the Home Office responsibilities to keep the UK safe from the threat of terrorism and to reduce and prevent crime and ensure people feel safe in their homes and communities. It will provide the Commissioner with a robust and transparent framework to fulfil his statutory functions as set out in the Protection of Freedoms Act, informing his Annual Report to the Home Secretary.