Tony Porter QPM LLB, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, delivered an excellent presentation on the National Surveillance Camera Strategy at Global MSC Security’s 2018 Conference and Exhibition in Bristol, during which he officially launched an online toolbox – a collection of resources designed to assist organisations in complying with the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice and following both good practice and legal requirements.
The toolbox comprises four tools: the buyer’s toolkit, the passport to compliance, the self-assessment tool and the surveillance camera-specific Data Protection Impact Assessment template.
Developed in conjunction with the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and Alastair Thomas of www.alasthom.com (who has extensive experience in the development of national policy and strategy for the regulation for surveillance cameras and served as lead author of the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice issued by the Home Secretary), the buyer’s toolkit is for small and medium-sized enterprises that are thinking about using surveillance cameras, yet as non-experts want to identify the best solution before they proceed and invest their time and money in a system. Following the guidance in the buyers’ toolkit will help individuals to make informed decisions about whether surveillance can be justified as a solution to their problems. If surveillance cameras are necessary, then the toolkit is full of advice and tips on how to derive the best outcome in conjunction with prospective suppliers.
The passport to compliance is aimed at large Public Space Surveillance camera systems, such as town centre schemes operated by local authorities. It takes the end user through the necessary stages when planning, implementing and operating a surveillance camera system to ensure it complies with the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice. It should be completed for new systems, for upgrades of systems (if the upgrade significantly alters or enhances the views obtained), when additional cameras are added to a system and/or when existing systems are extended.
For its part, the self-assessment tool will assist organisations in identifying whether or not they’re complying with the principles outlined in the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice. The four self assessment tools which were previously available – for ANPR, CCTV, body-worn video and drones – have now been condensed into one tool.
The surveillance camera-specific Data Protection Impact Assessment template complete with associated guidance notes has been developed in partnership with the Information Commissioner’s Office and replaces the Privacy Impact Assessment advice which was previously available on the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s website. It reflects updated data protection requirements as set out in the Data Protection Act 2018 and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.
Speaking about these developments, Tony Porter stated: “I have a statutory remit to encourage compliance with the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice and to provide advice about it. To do this, I have worked with a range of organisations to develop various guidance notes, tools and templates which are now available on my website. These tools will help your organisation comply with the Code and its 12 guiding principles. If followed, this will ensure that surveillance camera systems are only operated proportionately, transparently and effectively. I’m grateful to Alastair Thomas, the BSIA and the Information Commissioner’s Office for all of their efforts in developing this toolbox.”