CameraWatch – the organisation which claims to be the UK’s leading advisory body on data protection for the CCTV industry – announced yesterday that its chairman Pat Curran has stepped down to devote more attention to other businesses.
Pat Curran was the founder of the high-security specialist Bell Security which was sold to Securitas and rebranded as Niscayah in 2008. According to his LinkedIn profile, he is currently chairman of Vertex Services Group Ltd, software specialist FSI Systems and Bell ID.
Curran joined the board of CameraWatch two years ago and became chairman two years ago. The group has successfully recruited big name supporters to the board including Norbain, JVC and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The organisation promotes audits of CCTV systems to check their compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. CameraWatch argues that the vast majority of CCTV systems – both private and publicly owned – are failing to comply with the Act.
In addition, they claim that by failing to comply with the CCTV Code of Practice produced by the Information Commissioner’s Office, the industry is closing its eyes to the possible ramifications of a major breach of the Act.
Despite its dire warnings, CameraWatch has struggled to gain recognition and to date it has completed just two audits of major CCTV systems in the UK: Bristol City Council and North Lanarkshire Council.
However, chief executive Gordon Ferrie says compliance audits were never part of the “core business” of the organisation, and points to its major success in getting the Security Industry Authority (SIA) to adopt its 70-point inspection regime.
Ferrie told SecurityNewsDesk.com that Curran had stepped down because it was the end of his two-year term as chairman.
“Pat has done a wonderful job and taken CameraWatch to another step. Obviously we are going to try to appoint a new chairman soon,” said Ferrie. “He’s done a great job and we’ll miss him but he’s got other businesses to look after as well.”
Curran’s departure was announced at a board meeting last week. A new chairman will be appointed soon, possibly as soon as April or May.
In a prepared statement, which CameraWatch issued to the media, Pat Curran is quoted as saying: “CameraWatch continues to go from strength-to-strength in gaining recognition as an expert voice in the important area of CCTV surveillance. I am pleased to have been asked to play a part in its development and I anticipate my successor taking the organisation on to further growth and increased influence.”
Meanwhile, CameraWatch has appointed a new director of communications, marketing and membership. Alex MacLeod will update members on CCTV developments, create a new communications strategy for the organisation and recruit new members by promoting the importance of regulation in CCTV operation and use.
MacLeod is managing director of SafeCityWatch Ltd, a professional membership company that provides CCTV technology including image recognition software for prevent crime.
MacLeod said: “I want to ensure that CameraWatch is getting its message across to CCTV operators about the need to be compliant under the Data Protection Act.
“CCTV is a powerful tool and has a positive role to play as a visual deterrent and providing evidence of crime, but we know that many operators are not using it properly or appropriately.
“It’s the role of CameraWatch to educate operators and promote the benefits of being compliant through its CameraWatch Assessment Scheme.”