Last week all the strand leaders with responsibility for delivery of the National Surveillance Camera Strategy, hunkered down together to outline their successes, obstacles and proposed plans for the next reporting year. When I first set out my plans for a National Strategy it was in full recognition of how the surveillance industry and its application had grown in a piecemeal fashion. As my hero Glenn Frey once said as he reformed the Eagles (legends!) - "good things happen when people get together". I was determined to harness the skills and talents of these industry experts for the public benefit.
At what was a long, productive and very positive meeting, each of the strategy strand leaders allowed others to challenge their plans to enhance and improve their proposals. What was striking however - was the impact of coordinating these surveillance issues. Jacques Lombard (the new manufacturers / industry lead on delivering the' Buyers Toolkit') listened to Mike Gillespie's proposals on cyber related issues and promised to incorporate those proposals within his intended product. Alec Carmichael (CCTV Standards lead) advised the group on proposals to align his work regarding CCTV installers (via self certification / independent 3rd party assessment) to the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice. This issue will also be incorporated within the Training strand of the strategy - so that all efforts are harmonised. I gave the group an update on GDPR and the passage of the Data Protection Bill so that we move forward in a co-ordinated fashion with full appreciation of all regulatory interests which are engaged by this work.
Our lead on Horizon Scanning is shaping proposals on new and advancing technology - facial recognition, gait analysis and a range of algorithms that are changing the surveillance camera landscape as we speak. We need to get ahead of the curve here, show leadership and advise and listen to the public in relation to the lawful and ethical application of this technology. I am also challenging government on these issues too! Clear policy guidance is required, particularly the provision of a biometric strategy, if we are to ensure that there remains public trust and confidence in that surveillance cameras continue to support communities as opposed to spy on them! Interesting times.
I will report more fully on year one of the National Strategy in my next Annual Report. I will make the refreshed plans available soon on my web site - as soon as we have licked it into shape. Then you can decide if Glenn Frey was right or not!