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Interviews

Camera Commissioner’s year

The second annual report by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, for 2014-15, has been published and laid before Parliament. Tony Porter, pictured, the Commissioner calls for:

• A drive for organisations using surveillance camera systems to raise standards; in particular by those who must pay due regard to the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice as set out in the Protection of Freedoms Act.
• Police forces to build on work around the transparent use of ANPR cameras, body-worn video and automatic facial recognition technology.
• councils to get a grip on surveillance camera schemes that sit outside public space town centres to ensure they meet statutory requirements
• Government to consider widening the scope of organisations who must pay due regard to the code.
• Consideration to be given around how to effectively regulate emerging technology such as automatic facial recognition and other systems that use algorithms.
• and leadership amongst key authorities and business to develop partnership approach to CCTV – thereby reducing costs, raising standards and providing a framework for future development

Tony Porter said: “It’s been a busy and challenging year. I’ve seen lots of great examples of good practice from relevant authorities and those who fall outside the scope of this definition. Equally there is room for improvement and I’m determined to continue my push to raise standards across the industry. I will continue to work with local authorities and police forces to ensure they meet their statutory duty to pay regard to the Code in the backdrop of austerity and as technology moves forward at a rate of knots. There are also some challenges for Government around how the sector is regulated and these will be explored more fully in my review of the impact and operation of the Code which I’ll present to Ministers in the next few months.”

View at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/surveillance-camera-commissioner-annual-report-2014-to-2015.

Tony Porter, a former senior policeman, featured in the November 2015 print issue of Professional Security magazine, presenting one of the first holders of the newly-launched third party certification, the north London borough of Enfield, with their certificate.

Comment

David Wilkinson, Director of Technical Services at the BSIA, said: “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.

“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.”


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