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A York-based company has become the first private security firm to get certification under the surveillance camera code of practice; for its officers’ use of body-worn cameras.
Eboracum, set up in 2011, provides security guarding, facilities management and community projects. The company also provide a street ranger service to the York business improvement district (BID). For a recent (pre-Christmas) Sky News feature of the rangers in York’s historic city centre, click here.
Body-worn cameras, as with other guardforces and police, are now deployed with operatives across the company. Supported by local police and the city council enforcement officers, body-worn cameras have enabled the provision of evidence leading to prosecutions. Body-worn video, as elsewhere, has also been used to deter assaults on staff, and inhibit aggressive behaviour.
Eboracum sought to be transparent in showing standards and ethical use of body-worn; and hence went for a voluntary certification assessment against the surveillance camera code of practice, as regulated by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter.
Briefly, the code of practice is intended to ensure that people have confidence that in public spaces, surveillance cameras are deployed to protect and support them, rather than spy on them. While for most users of CCTV in the private sector adoption of the code is voluntary, it’s a mandatory for police forces in England and Wales. Eboracum’s procedures, privacy impact assessment and processes were audited by the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection board (SSAIB). Covered were data security, appropriate usage, control of records and a culture of honesty.
Carl Nickson, Director of Eboracum UK said: “Although accreditation is voluntary, I feel that it is important to demonstrate a transparent and compliant approach to the use of CCTV. We are leading from the front as the first security company to achieve this accolade and I hope that others will follow. Achieving this accreditation outlines that even small to medium businesses can put privacy, compliance and transparency at the top of the agenda.”
And Tony Porter, Surveillance Camera Commissioner, added: “A key component of my national surveillance camera strategy is to encourage organisations that are not bound by statute to comply with the Secretary of State’s code of practice, to voluntarily adopt its provisions. In doing so, Eboracum have demonstrated a real commitment to ensure that the public can have confidence in their use of body-worn surveillance cameras. I congratulate them on their achievement and encourage other organisations to follow their example.”
Picture by Mark Rowe; York’s historic city walls.