Simon Adcock, Chairman of the BSIA’s CCTV section, discusses how technological innovation within the CCTV sector is driving the need for development in legislation, regulation and standards. Influencing change in these arenas to the benefit of industry practitioners is a key function of the British Security Industry Association, and there’s never been a better time to get involved.
In recent history, the UK’s CCTV landscape has changed almost beyond recognition. New standards - introduced at British, European and International levels - continue to drive best practice and influence emerging innovations, while the Government’s ongoing commitment to developing its Code of Practice creates further opportunities for our industry to engage and shape the future of British CCTV.
As the trade body representing the UK’s private security industry, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) sits at the heart of many of these developments, and provides many opportunities for its member companies to directly influence change through working groups, committees and section meetings.
So, exactly what’s changing, and why is now an optimal time to get involved?
The commitment of the Government to defining best practice within the UK’s CCTV arena is embodied by newly-appointed Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter QPM LLB, who took up the post in March 2014 as the successor to Andrew Rennison, with whom the BSIA enjoyed a fruitful relationship.
The passing of the Protection of Freedoms Act in 2012 formalised the Government’s intention to build upon the achievements of the former Labour Government in driving CCTV best practice, and introduced a CCTV Code of Practice made up of 12 guiding principles aimed at defining best practice in terms of protection of the public. At present, this Code of Practice extends to publicly-owned systems only, a significant minority of 1 in 70, according to BSIA research released in 2013.
Extending the Code
The extension of this Code to cover privately-owned systems – which form the majority of CCTV coverage in the UK and are responsible for providing significant evidence to Police – is at the heart of the BSIA’s engagement with Government. Hosting his own standards development working group – chaired by the BSIA’s Technical Director, Alex Carmichael – Tony Porter continues to engage with industry in determining the minimum standards for CCTV installation, monitoring and operation.
With the expectation that compliance with the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s standards will ultimately become a requirement on all public sector tender checklists, CCTV manufacturers and installers would be wise to remain one step ahead of the latest standards developments. The BSIA’s dedicated working groups and CCTV section meetings are an ideal forum through which member companies can improve their knowledge, plan ahead for future developments and learn about best practice from their industry peers.
Most recently, the BSIA’s CCTV Technical Committee has updated the Association’s own Code of Practice, Form 109, to reflect current trends in CCTV from planning and design to installation and operation. Vitally, it also includes the 12 principles from the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s Code of Practice, bringing these further into the consciousness of installers and manufacturers. The BSIA requires all members of its CCTV Section to comply with this Code, positioning them at the forefront of the very latest requirements in best practice and industry standards.
Getting involved in standards development at a higher level is also possible through the BSIA. At present, several employees of BSIA member companies represent the Association on British, European and International standards committees, which, most recently, have contributed to a suite of CCTV standards in Europe which have now been submitted to the IEC to become international standards. These are comprised of seven individual standards, six of which have now been published as international standards, as part of the IEC 62676 suite, which will ultimately feed into the SCC’s best practice guidelines.
With the BSIA represented at so many levels within the CCTV standards arena, it’s possible for member companies to define their own level of involvement, from nominating employees to sit on standards committees, to commenting on standards reviews by email.
David Wilkinson, the BSIA’s Technical Manager, comments: “One of the major benefits to BSIA members is the opportunity to get involved in shaping the future direction of technological developments and standards. All members have the opportunity to attend Section meetings, where they can gain a useful overview of the CCTV landscape.
“From there, members can attend Technical Committee meetings, influencing the way standards are written and participating in the planning process regarding how guidance is provided to the public and other BSIA members. Through these committees, they have the opportunity to be nominated to attend BSI, European and International standards committees. Companies benefit because they remain one step ahead of the latest changes and are seen as experts in their field, while individuals benefit from a boost to their own personal profile within the industry.”
Reaping the benefits
All standards go through an almost continual cycle of review, so there is always an opportunity for companies to become involved in the process. Once standards have been implemented, the BSIA learns from the experience of its members so that when standards come up for their next review, members are able to influence standards to their own benefit, to ensure that the standards work well for the industry.
At section meeting level, the BSIA also coordinates publicity and messaging around the launch of new standards, making a joint decision with members to determine the Association’s support for a given standard, and how it can be promoted to their advantage, positioning BSIA members as the leaders in their field and incorporating case studies from member companies, all of which receive formal recognition in PR activity.
Following on from this, should BSIA members feel the need for the Association to educate the marketplace, national seminars can be arranged, four of which have been held over the past year, aimed at installers, specifiers and end-users, acting as a forum for information exchange.
Any BSIA member company wishing to learn more about getting involved in the standards development process can download a guide to becoming a working group expert from the BSIA’s website. Alternatively, non-members wishing to know more about the benefits of BSIA membership can find out more online via www.bsia.co.uk/join-the-bsia