Getting a fully operational surveillance camera system up and running takes a number of steps. Considering why you want a system, buying that system, having it installed, operating it, storing data, extracting data when required and maintaining the system so it continues to work. To use an analogy they are links in a chain if one link is not strong the chain could break – if you don’t take a ‘whole system’ approach to surveillance cameras you could end up with a system that doesn’t do what you want it to do or is hard to export footage from.
Passport to compliance
You may have seen I recently launched the passport to compliance document, formerly know as an operational requirement document. It takes a whole system approach to surveillance cameras, enabling organisations to specify exactly what they want the system to do, how they want it to perform and ensure that it complies with all relevant regulations. As well as how much it will cost to procure and run.
The passport to compliance puts responsibility for system development in the hands of the organisations that operate them. It guides organisations through the stages they need to go through when planning, installing and eventually operating surveillance camera systems. It aims to reduce technical jargon to enable procurement experts within organisations to have the ability to properly hold suppliers to account where non compliance of the surveillance camera code of practice is evident.
Following the passport to compliance will help organisations meet the 12 guiding principles in the surveillance camera code of practice and, whilst not a guarantee, other relevant legislation such as the Data Protection Act and Human Rights Act.
It’s aimed primarily at public space CCTV systems such as those operated by local authorities, although it can be used for any type of surveillance camera system. It should be completed for new systems, upgrades of systems (if it significantly alters or enhances the views obtained), when additional cameras are added to a system and when existing systems are extended.
Linking it all together
So, the use of surveillance cameras isn’t just about installation, it isn’t just about operation, it isn’t just about maintenance and it isn’t just about collecting data or capturing evidence. It’s all of those things and the national surveillance camera strategy takes a whole system approach linking everything together so that where there is surveillance it is effective in protecting people and keeping them safe whilst at the same time respecting their rights to privacy. This is why there are 11 work strands which, although led individually by sector experts, work together to develop a harmonised approach to the use of surveillance cameras.
Back to the passport to compliance – it’s been designed with the help of industry experts and thoroughly tested but we are always looking for feedback. If you do have any comments on how it is to use or how it can be improved I’d be very interested to hear them, so please comment on this post.