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- Women in Security
The Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter presented the first London borough with certification of its CCTV according to the surveillance camera code of practice, ahead of the certificate’s official launch in November.
This was part of five certificates and accreditations received by Enfield in north London, at the borough’s 12-year-old public safety centre. The SSAIB inspectorate’s chairman and chief executive, Geoff Tate and Alex Carmichael (who chairs the commissioner’s standards board), also attended to present accreditations for British Standard BS5979 category two (ARC), BS 8484 lone worker management; and BS 7958 CCTV management and operations.
Welcoming Tony Porter, Yasemin Brett, Enfield Cabinet Member for Community Organisations and Culture, said: “In these days of austerity, CCTV has proven an effective and efficient way of assisting the police and other community safety partners in tackling crime.” She recalled that the centre, opened in 2002, now monitors hundreds of the council’s lone workers; and (since early summer) has housed the CCTV monitoring for the neighbouring borough of Barnet. Replying, Tony Porter told Councillor Brett: “It vouchsafes that your system is well managed, from cradle to grave; it reflects the 12 guiding principles in the surveillance camera code of practice, which came out of the Protection of Freedoms Act. Why is it important? Well, people tend to recognise that surveillance cameras are ubiquitous, which is fine, and generally the public support that.” He recalled however the recent BBC TV documentary on the US surveillance whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Porter, a former senior police detective, warned that – “like a train coming down the tracks” – the whole issue of public space surveillance is going to come under scrutiny. Tony Porter described the certification ‘as an outward sign of inward success that you can demonstrate to your community that you take community safety very seriously; that you view surveillance cameras as there to support the community, not to spy on communities’.
He said that the certification was at the end of its pilot phase, with ‘the great support of the SSAIB and NSI’ inspectorates in interpreting the code of practice. Tony Porter also paid tribute to Alan Gardner as a ‘critical friend’, who sits on the commissioner’s advisory board and standards board, of practitioners who guide the commissioner. While CCTV technology brought challenges, Tony Porter said that he saw that as opportunity: “As austerity bites, as resources are reduced, as local authorities have fewer people, it would be negligent to turn our backs on technology and not use technology to the nth degree.”
Pictured left to right are Councillor Brett, Tony Porter, and Alan Gardner, Enfield Public Safety Centre Manager.
Also at the presentation were Alan Lee, consultant and Paul McSweeney, operations manager for OCS CCTV, the division of the contract services company that provides the operators at the centre.
Alan Gardner told Professional Security that the centre is developing an app to provide police with access to digital video, whether on tablets in police cars, or helicopters, with the aim of streaming live video. More in the December 2015 print issue of Professional Security magazine.
About Alan Gardner
He’s the chairman of the Public CCTV Managers Association, and the London CCTV managers’ group. He is group secretary of the CCTV national standards forum, chaired by Brian Pender, the head of security for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, whose first meeting featured in the March 2012 print issue of Professional Security. Briefly, that forum is hosted by the Home Office, with such industry bodies and groups with interests in CCTV as the British Retail Consortium, ATOC, AUCSO and the NPCC, and the Met and other police forces. The forum has a MoU (memorandum of understanding) with the Surveillance Camera Commissioner as he decides whether to report to Government that the commissioner should have sway over more CCTV than the present police and local government alone.
Alan is also a fellow of the Security Institute, and has been helping Skills for Security on revisions of national occupational standards to do with CCTV monitoring.