Third party certification scheme launched to support UK Surveillance Camera Code of Practice

Tony Porter, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner for England and Wales at the Home Office, has launched a third party certification scheme wherein that certification is said to be “simple, accessible and affordable”.

In essence, the new scheme enables organisations to clearly demonstrate that they comply with the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice. For relevant authorities, it’s essential that they’re able to evidence they’ve shown due regard to the Code of Practice, and this new certification procedure enables them to do so.

There are two steps to certification. The first step – namely desktop certification – is aimed at organisations working diligently to achieve full compliance with the Code of Practice, but at the same time fully aware that they may need a greater period to become fully compliant.

The second step – full certification – is for those organisations either close to or fully compliant with the Code of Practice. This step involves a visit and full audit from a certification body.

There are currently two UKAS-accredited certification bodies qualified to audit against the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice – the National Security Inspectorate and the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board.

Successful organisations will receive a certificate and be able to display the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s certification mark (shown above) on their website and other publicity material.

Tony Porter

Tony Porter

Speaking about the new scheme, Tony Porter said: “Certification enables organisations to demonstrate to local communities that they use their CCTV systems transparently and in an effective and proportionate manner. It shows they comply with the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice and indicates they follow Best Practice. I’m determined to raise standards across the industry and, following on from self-assessment, my third party certification scheme aims to do just that.”

Case Study: London Borough of Enfield

The London Borough of Enfield has successfully achieved certification against the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice for its public space town centre CCTV scheme.

“I applied for our CCTV Control Centre to be audited against the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s certification scheme because I wanted to be able to show the public and potential clients alike that our performance is independently measured and, importantly, meets the 12 guiding principles enshrined in the Code,” explained Alan Gardner FSyI, Enfield’s public safety manager.

“The audit took about a day to complete. We were also going for certification against BS 7958 and BS 5979 at the same time so that made it easier. Even if you are just going for certification against the Code of Practice, the process is simple. Any local authority public space CCTV scheme should be fairly close to meeting the requirements.”

Full Surveillance Camera Commissioner certification lasts for a period of five years.

Gardner added: “The problem around poor take-up of previous standards for CCTV has been because there were too many of them. Most were not applicable or, in terms of their requirements, appeared irrelevant to the way in which public CCTV systems were operated. The standard were actually ignored by many.”

He continued: “Now, relevant authorities have the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice in front of them. It’s essential to also consider and evaluate, and preferably on an independent basis, that your CCTV system is performing and operating to principles in the Code. Hence, we took the opportunity to be certified against the Code. The cost for the certification assessment is negligible.”

*Visit the UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s certification page to find out how you can have your scheme certified against the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice

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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