Latest code of practice for surveillance cameras
The Home Office introduced the new code in June 2013 after concerns over potential abuse or misuse of surveillance by the state in public places. The code of practice also restricts access to and retention of data, encourages private operators to apply the code as well as public bodies. It recognises that when used appropriately, the systems are valuable tools which contribute to public safety, security and in protecting both people and property. The purpose of the code will be to ensure that individuals and wider communities have confidence that surveillance cameras are deployed to protect and support them, rather than spy on them. The code of practice has been introduced under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The 12 point code of conduct says the use of a surveillance cameras must:
- Always be for a specified purpose which is in pursuit of a legitimate aim and necessary to meet an identified pressing need.
- Take into account its effect on individuals and their privacy.
- Have as much transparency as possible, including a published contact point for access to information and complaints.
- Have clear responsibility and accountability for all surveillance activities including images and information collected, held and used.
- Have clear rules, policies and procedures in place and these must be communicated to all who need to comply with them.
- Have no more images and information stored than that which is strictly required.
- Restrict access to retained images and information with clear rules on who can gain access.
- Consider any approved operational, technical and competency standards relevant to a system and its purpose and work to meet and maintain those standards.
- Be subject to appropriate security measures to safeguard against unauthorised access and use.
- Have effective review and audit mechanisms to ensure legal requirements, policies and standards are complied with.
- Be used in the most effective way to support public safety and law enforcement with the aim of processing images and information of evidential value, when used in pursuit of a legitimate aim.
- Be accurate and kept up to date when any information is used to support a surveillance camera system which compares against a reference database for matching purposes.
Whilst the above code is aimed mainly at the public sector it is encouraging all CCTV users to comply. Advice on this or any other CCTV can be gained by ringing Universal Fire & Security on 01752511222 or using our contact us page.