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Surveillance camera commissioner releases compliance toolbox

14/11/18

Mark Say Managing Editor

The surveillance commissioner has launched an online toolbox for organisations to ensure that they comply with the code of practice for the technology.

CCTV camera

Tony Porter and his office have developed the guidance as part of his remit to encourage compliance with the code, first published in 2013, working with a range of organisations to provide notes, tools and templates.

“These tools will help your organisation comply with the code and its 12 guiding principles, which if followed, will ensure that surveillance camera systems are only operated proportionately, transparently and effectively,” Porter said.

The toolbox includes a passport to compliance module for organisations such as local authorities that install large surveillance systems for public spaces. This goes through the necessary stages from planning to operation and should be completed for new systems, upgrades and when additional cameras are added.

Among the steps are to define the scope and nature of the problem which the surveillance cameras are intended to deal with, state the objectives of the desired solution and run a risk assessment. It also takes in an estimate of the budget and plans for public consultation.

There is also a self-assessment tool for compliance with the principles of the code, which is condensed from four previous self-assessments for automatic number plate recognition, CCTV, body worn video and drones.

The 12 principles focus on questions on issues such as staff responsibilities, privacy implications, the retention of images and whether there are policies for their deletion.

Impact issues

A data protection impact assessment template has been developed with the Information Commissioner’s office to replace the privacy impact assessment advice previously available on the surveillance camera commissioner’s website. It reflects the requirements of the new Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulation.

For smaller businesses, the commissioner has released a buyer’s toolkit to help them make informed decisions on whether surveillance is justified and how to get the best from prospective suppliers.

Image: Otto Normalverbraucher, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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