Are you certain that your surveillance camera system is working as well as it was when it was first installed? Working as well as it was one, two or three years ago? Working at all?
In Principle 10 of the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice we talk about carrying out regular reviews and that’s not just to make sure your cameras are still working – it’s much more than that. If you don’t review your system how do you know it’s still effective, that the pressing need for its use is still justified or, actually, that it is still working? Reviews help make sure systems are being used for their intended purpose as well as help to identify cameras that can be decommissioned or if there is a need to increase coverage. As good practice the outcome of the review could be published.
I’ve heard stories of cameras put up in the winter and by the time summer comes around their view is completely obscure by a tree in full bloom making it completely useless. A system review may help minimise this sort of thing happening. Equally, I’ve been told that when police officers have gone to recover footage after an incident there is nothing to collect because the system has been inadvertently switched off – again a regular review will help prevent this.
Surveillance camera systems should be reviewed at least annually. Like any technology cameras do degrade over time. The camera that was providing great images on the day it was installed probably won’t a few years down the line and possibly may need to be replaced. Regular reviews help you to identify issues like this.
Annual reviews can also help organisations understand if cameras are still needed in certain places, can be moved or new cameras installed. There’s a case study on my website setting out why and how Sedgemoor District Council carry out reviews as well as how it benefits them.
Surveillance cameras are a part of every day life now so isn’t important that their use is regularly looked at to make sure they are justified, effective and at the very least working?