|Surveillance Camera Commissioner (SCC), Tony Porter QPM LLB, has published his Annual Report after laying it down before parliament on the 19th November 2015.
The report highlights the work carried out by the SCC during his first full year in office and addresses the many challenges he has faced whilst working with the public, industry and end users. Much of the work outlined in his report has been carried out with the support of both his Advisory Council and Standards Board, both of which the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) are actively involved in.
Porter discusses how the opportunity to work closely with Local Authorities has highlighted the significant proportion of public space CCTV – utilised by Local Authorities – that does not fall within the purview of dedicated CCTV managers. It is the opinion of the SCC that numerous Departments do not enjoy the same public scrutiny and in some cases, the regulatory compliance is questionable. The SCC concludes this point by stating that greater governance of these areas is needed to ensure compliance.
The report outlines how much of the past year has been focused on establishing what standards for CCTV are used by the industry, how they protect public interests and what more might need to be done to further protect these interests.
Looking forward to the future, the SCC refers to the advancing technology which is prevalent within the CCTV arena, and how the regulatory framework and legislators will be able to keep pace. Accepting that ever-more sophisticated technology will continue to emerge, the SCC has engaged with the Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology to establish a horizon scanning team, which will act as a reference point to understand current and potential future use and impact.
Concluding the report, the SCC brings attention to his high-level business plan for 2015/16, which aims to show how he will tackle the challenges anticipated for the coming year. Some of these activities include: developing a suite of standards addressing users’ technical requirements for body worn video for the police, guidance for users of body worn vide (non law-enforcement agencies), understanding how technological developments impact on the Protection of Freedoms Act (PoFA) and producing a comprehensive review of the PoFA Code as required within the Protection of Freedoms Act.
David Wilkinson, Director of Technical Services at the BSIA, comments: “Whilst the Surveillance Camera Commissioner has been a welcome introduction to the industry and has had a successful first year in office, there are still a number of challenges to overcome and further work to be completed. In particular, the BSIA would like to see private sector CCTV systems incorporated into the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s Code of Practice.”
Wilkinson concludes: “The BSIA will continue to engage fully with the SCC, through its involvement as members of the SCC Advisory Council and Standards Board. We are also in liaison with the British Standards Institute (BSI) on the development of a Body Worn Video standard which I am leading through my position as Chair of the BSI’s National CCTV Standards Group.”
The official press release from the Office of the Surveillance Camera Commissioner can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/surveillance-camera-commissioner-annual-report-2014-to-2015