After a year of hard work I’m delighted to be able to launch a national surveillance camera strategy for England and Wales, to help keep people safe in public places and respect their right to privacy. It’s a strategy that is far reaching, touching on many areas of surveillance camera use – police and local authority, installers and manufacturers, training providers and regulators – and of course how the use of surveillance cameras impacts members of the public.
This strategy aims to provide direction and leadership in the surveillance camera community to enable system operators to understand good and best practice and their legal obligations (such as those contained within the Protection of Freedoms Act, Data Protection Act and Private Security Industry Act).
It’s my vision to ensure the public are assured that any use of surveillance camera systems in a public place helps to protect and keep them safe, whilst respecting the individual’s right to privacy. That assurance is based upon deployment which is proportionate to a legitimate purpose, and transparency which demonstrates compliance with best and good practice and relevant legal obligations.
It aligns closely to the Home Office responsibilities to keep the UK safe from the threat of terrorism and to reduce and prevent crime and ensure people feel safe in their homes and communities. The strategy will provide me with a robust and transparent framework to fulfil my statutory functions as set out in the Protection of Freedoms Act and inform my Annual Report to the Home Secretary.
The responses to the consultation on the draft show that this strategy is extremely well supported as do the number of organisations that have written to me to show their support. I look forward to delivering on this for the next 3 years ensuring that where surveillance cameras are used they keep people safe whilst protecting their right to privacy.
I must also thank all those who have lead strands on this work and given up their time voluntarily to do so. Please look at the strategy and plans it’s a living document so will change over time.