Park Watch becomes first organisation awarded SCC’s certification for ANPR cameras

Parking enforcement specialist Park Watch has just become the first organisation to be awarded the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s certification specifically for its use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. Park Watch was audited and successfully achieved full certification against its use of CCTV and body-worn video as well as ANPR.

Certification enables organisations who are operating surveillance camera systems overtly in public places to clearly demonstrate that they comply with the Commissioner’s Surveillance Camera Code of Practice and, importantly, its 12 guiding principles. If the principles are followed this will ensure that surveillance systems are always operated proportionately, transparently and effectively.

For relevant authorities (ie local authorities and police forces) this is particularly important, as they must show due regard to the Code of Practice. For other organisations, such as the British Parking Association and its approved operators, following the Code is voluntary.

Surveillance Camera Code of Practice

Adrian Powell, director of Park Watch, stated: “Once the British Parking Association requested its approved operators to sign up to the guidelines of the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice, it was decided by the Board of Directors at Park Watch that we would prefer to follow the extensive audit process through to full certification. At a time when the parking industry is coming under extensive scrutiny of its standards, achieving this accreditation provides confidence for our customers and staff who benefit from the extensive investment we’ve made in camera technology right across our business.”

The full certification process involves completing the self-assessment tool and then submitting this to one of the certification bodies and having other relevant documents available for assessment. The certification body will then contact the host business to arrange a date for a full audit of its surveillance system. An auditor will visit the end user organisation’s Control Room to audit the system, cameras and procedures, working with a check list against the 12 guiding principles listed in the Code. As long as there are no serious non-compliance issues, the auditor will produce a report for the Commissioner recommending full certification.

Pre-audit preparation

Tony Porter QPM LLB: the Surveillance Camera Commissioner

Tony Porter QPM LLB: the Surveillance Camera Commissioner

“The certification meant several weeks of pre-audit preparation,” said Powell, “followed by a two-day office and site inspection involving members of head office staff as well as site-based operatives.”

Powell went on to state: “All our members of staff that took part felt the process had been ‘excellent’. Our site-based and mobile patrol staff are issued with body-worn cameras, supplying them with a visual deterrent for the sometimes difficult situations that they face. They now appreciate the requirement for a full understanding of the operating procedures and the daily checks required when using this important equipment.”

Full certification lasts for a period of five years subject to an annual review of the system. Any organisation that’s recommended for – and then successfully achieves – certification is then awarded a certificate of compliance from the Commissioner and can make use of the Commissioner’s certification mark on its website and other communications to indicate compliance with the Code.

Powell concluded: “We’re pleased to have achieved the Surveillance Camera Commissioner certification mark. This gives our existing and new customers and staff confidence that they’re dealing with a professional organisation that takes pride in the quality of service it provides on a daily basis.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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