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National surveillance camera strategy and training

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Hi Gordon Tyerman here – I’m taking over Tony’s blog this week for an update on the training strand of the national surveillance camera strategy for England and Wales. It’s been over a year since my last blog so there’s quite a bit to update you on!

If you’ve been a regular reader of these blogs you’ll know the strategy was launched in March. The objective of the training strand is to:

Make information freely available about training requirements and provision for all those who operate, or support the operation of, surveillance camera systems and those who use the data for crime prevention/detection or public safety purposes.

There has been a lot of activity on the strand and to help drive the work forward and meet this objective I’ve convened a sub-group made up of industry experts with specific knowledge of the surveillance camera industry training requirements.

We met our first deliverable earlier this year by carrying out an analysis of what training is currently on offer for CCTV operators and managers and where there are gaps – a gap analysis. Through this process we’ve identified that there is a clear demarcation between training that is a legal requirement (obligatory), that which is essential and that which is desirable.

Obligatory training

Obligatory training is required by legislation, in this case, the Private Security Industry Act 2001, which created a licensed role for CCTV surveillance when carried out by contracted operators – the Security Industry Authority (SIA) Licence.

There are currently over 200 training providers delivering the SIA Licence course. The schedule of training is set by the SIA and currently requires 4 days of training with a set number of hours for students to have contact with tutors. There is a practical assessment included in the training – to date over 45,000 CCTV licences have been issued.

The sub group have gathered feedback about the quality of this training and it’s clear that standards vary in the delivery of the course. Through the work on the this strand we hope to be able to influence that and in particular to influence the topics covered on courses to improve and update them which will in turn raise the quality.

Essential training

Next is essential training. This is training which is not required in law but that will help users get the optimum output from surveillance camera equipment.  For example, an engineer fine tuning a complex surveillance camera system.

Training in this area is currently delivered by a handful of companies. There is no defined list of topics and the quality of training is very much dependant on the individual tutor. Again, we will be looking to influence what is covered by these training providers to raise the standard of what they offer.

Desirable training

Lastly, there is desirable training. This training is neither required nor essential but it will add value to the user as part of their role. This might include a CCTV system manager who does not require an SIA licence, but would benefit from knowledge of CCTV operations, legal requirements for CCTV and so on. Non-contract CCTV operators could fall under this area and effectively, be carrying out the same function as a licensed operator but without the relevant training. This is an area of concern, and although most non SIA operators do get some training, it is usually in-house and given by managers who may themselves, not have suitable training.

So the gap analysis that has been carried out has unearthed a lot for us to work on. Next we will enter a period of further consultation, to identify the training topics in a more detailed way which could raise the effectiveness of training across the board and we are working with the SIA to update the training topics for licence holders.

It would be great to here from anyone who has any views on training and where improvements can be made so please comment on this blog with any thoughts you have.

So, 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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