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Feeling Secure

27 March 2017

The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) discusses its involvement in helping to create the new national surveillance camera strategy, which it says will assure the public that CCTV systems are keeping them safe.

ON 14 MARCH, Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter launched the national surveillance camera strategy for England and Wales, which was endorsed by the British Security Industry Association. Work on the strategy was agreed by the Commissioner’s Advisory Council in January 2016. It has drawn together a comprehensive national surveillance camera strategy, which seeks to develop a holistic approach to raising standards and compliance with legal obligations in line with the 12 guiding principles of the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s Code of Practice.

The strategy outlines long-term objectives that extend beyond 2020 with delivery plans developed for each for the first three year period. The strategy aims to help build a stronger evidence base before 2020 to inform further strategic planning to maintain momentum. It recognises that technological change is happening rapidly and that the world around us is changing. As such, the strategy will be amended as legislation, technology and best and good practice change.

The strategy is a very worthy and successful attempt to draw together the multiple stakeholders across a diverse and critically important sector. The BSIA is proud to have been a contributor to the Commissioner’s efforts at providing direction and leadership on the appropriate use of such systems to secure the protection of our communities while protecting individuals’ rights to privacy.

We are delighted to endorse the strategy and will continue to support the Commissioner’s work on standards and best practice in this vital part of the UK economy. The strategy aims to provide direction and leadership in the surveillance camera community to enable system operators to understand good and best practice and their legal obligations (such as those contained within the Protection of Freedoms Act, Data Protection Act and Private Security Industry Act).

Commissioner’s vision

The Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s vision is to ensure the public are assured that any use of surveillance camera systems in a public place helps to protect and keep them safe, while respecting the individual’s right to privacy. That assurance is based on deployment, which is proportionate to a legitimate purpose, and transparency that demonstrates compliance with best and good practice and relevant legal obligations. The strategy outlines eleven high-level objectives, each led by an expert, to support achieving the Commissioner’s vision.

The work of the Industry Strand of the national strategy is focussed on educating buyers on what to expect from a knowledgeable, professional service provider as well as providing practical guidance to help them comply with the Code of Practice. Ultimately, we are aiming to establish and promote a set of guidelines to ensure that buyers can rely on their service providers for at least good practice.

Over the coming months, the Industry Strand will be defining what we mean by good practice, but it will be centred around ensuring that there is an operational requirement and that the resulting system meets agreed objectives. Our end game is to ensure that anyone providing professional video surveillance services will, as a minimum standard, meet these good practice guidelines.

The strategy represents an opportunity for the industry – through working with the Commissioner – to assure the public that video surveillance systems are being used in public spaces legitimately, responsibly and transparently, in order to keep them safe. The strategy is fully supported by members of the BSIA’s CCTV section and we look forward to seeing the strategy delivered through to 2020.

The strategy aligns closely to the Home Office responsibilities to keep the UK safe from the threat of terrorism and to reduce and prevent crime and ensure people feel safe in their homes and communities. It will provide the Commissioner with a robust and transparent framework to fulfil his statutory functions as set out in the Protection of Freedoms Act. The BSIA and members of its CCTV section remain fully supportive of the work of the Surveillance Camera Commissioner and look forward to seeing the effect of the strategy on standards within the CCTV industry.

For more information about the BSIA’s CCTV section, visit www.bsia.co.uk/sections/cctv.aspx