A new Surveillance Camera Code of Practice has been published by the Home Office, setting out guidelines for local authority use of CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR).
The principal of the new guidelines cover ‘surveillance by consent’ and bids to improve public confidence that surveillance cameras are used to protect the public and not spy on them.
Transparency in the use of both CCTV and ANPR cameras is encouraged under the new code. It also aims to ensure that public bodies, such as police and local authorities, consider the proportionate need for new cameras before installation.
The Code of Practice was drafted by Andrew Rennison, who was appointed the UK’s first surveillance camera commissioner last year, and is part of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
Minister for Criminal Information Lord Taylor of Holbeach said: “CCTV and ANPR are crucial tools for cutting crime and protecting the public, but for too long we have seen these systems grow without proper oversight.
“Through this code – and with an independent commissioner – there will be a framework in place for the first time that helps police and local authorities in the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour, while reassuring the public that cameras in public places are used proportionately and effectively.”
The Surveillance Camera Code of Practise has been laid before Parliament for approval.
Under the code, breaches would not lead to criminal or civil proceeding against a public body. However, it is admissible in evidence and a court can take into account failures to have proper regard to the code.