As part of a Coalition pledge to further regulate CCTV, the government has launched a consultation on a new code of practice governing the use of CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR).
The consultation is being spearheaded by Crime Prevention Minister James Brokenshire.
The consultation will give members of the public and operators of CCTV systems a say on the range of proposals being put forward which the government claim would make this technology more proportionate and effective.
The consultation is the first step towards establishing a formal Code of Practice as promised in the Government’s Protection of Freedoms Bill.
The proposals include:
- establishing a checklist of actions to be carried out by CCTV operators before installing new cameras to check whether they are absolutely necessary;
- developing industry standards for equipment to ensure it is reliable, effective and gathers images that are of sufficient quality and in a useable format;
- improving public knowledge about systems in communities through consultation by police and local authorities and better public information; and
- considering whether further guidance is needed on how long data collected by CCTV and ANPR should be retained.
Crime Prevention Minister James Brokenshire said: “CCTV and ANPR systems play a vital role in the prevention and detection of crime. However it is important they are used in a way that does not invade law-abiding people’s privacy or undermine the public’s confidence in them.
“That’s why we are establishing this code and that’s why we are asking the public what they think should be in it. Alongside this, we will appoint a new Commissioner to monitor the code and ensure it is effective.”
The code would be introduced on an incremental basis, with local authorities and police required to have due regard to it straightaway. The Government will consider whether the code should be extended to other organisations, such as businesses and private security firms, in due course.
The consultation will run for 12 weeks. The Protection of Freedoms Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 11 February 2011.