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National surveillance camera strategy and local authorities

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Hi, I’m Tony Gleason Treasurer at the Public CCTV Managers’ Association (PCMA) and CCTV Manager at Bournemouth Borough Council. I jointly lead (with Neil Harvey PCMA Chair and Operations Manager at Nottingham Control Centre) the local authorities strand of the national surveillance camera strategy for England and Wales.

The PCMA consists of 125 voluntary members who are CCTV Management practitioners. We work closely within the group and also with government, the police and other organisations in promoting best practice. We continue to work alongside the Surveillance Camera Commissioner and his team on the development and implementation of the national surveillance camera strategy. Many of our members sit on regional, national or specialist sector groups on CCTV matters to represent local authority public space CCTV.

On the strategy work continues with the development of key performance Indicators (KPIs) which can be used by all local authority systems and be published on their respective websites for public information. A survey was carried out with managers by the Commissioner. It looks at what should be included as part of the KPIs and will continue through the autumn before the responses are analysed and published.

Over 90% of local authorities have now completed the Commissioner’s self-assessment tool in respect of their main town centre CCTV scheme. The next step is to encourage and help all local authorities to achieve the Commissioner’s Third Party Certification mark. This will provide visual evidence of compliance with the surveillance camera code of practice and any associated guidance and legislation.

A series of workshops for local authorities on what I've outlined above will be run by the Commissioner and his team and supported by the PCMA this autumn. They are free to attend and are aimed CCTV managers and their managers, compliance officers, data protection officers, community safety managers and officers, as well as anyone else who has responsibility for other forms of surveillance cameras including body worn video, automatic number plate recognition and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The workshops will also provide guidance regarding the establishing of a single point of contact (SPOC) in each local authority to support compliance of all surveillance camera systems within the authority. This will help standardise procedures within local authorities, ensure that equipment purchased is of a recommended standard and costs are reduced through procurement.

Elsewhere, a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between local authorities, police forces and other agencies on all forms of surveillance camera systems including ANPR and CCTV is being developed too and is now out for comment.

Other projects include training and secure remote access to data. The PCMA believe that CCTV Operators and Managers should have regular refresher training particularly in relation to legislation, developments in technology and the work carried out by the Commissioner.

We would like to provide our partners, such as the police, with remote access to real time and recorded footage of CCTV on mobile devices. This will undoubtedly help police officers to evaluate incidents whilst en-route, provide an appropriate response reducing risk and harm and assist in the subsequent investigation. However, this can only be done with proper safeguards in place to comply with legislation and the security of the data.

As you will see there’s lots going on the strand so make sure you sign up for email alerts for Tony’s blog, follow him on Twitter to hear all the latest news about the strategy and register to receive information on products being developed as part of the strategy.

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