The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice, published in 2013, which includes 12 Guiding Principles, provides a framework for CCTV operators to act responsibly. These Principles highlight that if you are operating a CCTV system understanding your obligations in respect of protecting people’s privacy is increasingly important as technology, such as facial recognition, becomes more advanced.
The position of Surveillance Camera Commissioner, acting as part of the Home Office was also created in 2013. The role of the Commissioner is to encourage – but not to enforce – compliance with the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice.
The first Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter held the post from March 2014 until the end of February this year when he was succeeded by Fraser Sampson, who was also appointed Biometrics Commissioner. Fraser has worked in the criminal justice sector for over 40 years having moved from serving in the police force into studying law and becoming a solicitor and most recently working as Chief Executive for Police, Fire & Crime Commissioners in Yorkshire. Fraser is also an Honorary Professor and Research Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University.
On his appointment Fraser outlined updating the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice as one of his priorities. Tony Porter had carried out a review of the impact of the Code in 2015 and produced recommendations for the government on updating the Code and had been calling for action but this has yet to happen.
Fraser said, “Following the Bridges Judgment on the proper and accountable use of facial recognition technology, it’s now more important than ever to produce a Code that’s fit for purpose and is designed to stay up to date with the fast-paced evolution of surveillance camera technology.”
However, the existing 12 Guiding Principles that make up the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice still provide CCTV operators with a systematic approach to managing CCTV compliance. This is why the CCTV Logbook Compliance Package has been developed using a step-by-step comprehensive checklist which takes you through the 12 Guiding Principles.
As our video explains without this process compliance could be a burden. It is also important to remember that if you are following these Principles you should also be meeting your legal obligations under data protection law which are enforced by the Information Commissioner.
By completing all areas of compliance you can print off a certificate to display and while this is not an official document it demonstrates to others that you are taking compliance seriously as a CCTV operator. When the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice is updated we can also revise the compliance area of CCTV Logbook to reflect any changes made to the 12 Guiding Principles.