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Developing service level agreements

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Local authorities, National surveillance camera strategy, Policing

One of the deliverables of the local authority strand of the National Surveillance Camera Strategy is the development of a framework service level agreement (SLA). It’s designed to be used to help police forces and local authorities set up their own SLAs. The police are a key partner in this and I’m working closely with Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Gilmer who leads the policing strand of the strategy and is also the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for CCTV.

As the chair of the Public CCTV Managers’ Association, which represents managers from over 200 local authorities, working with the NPCC Specialist Capabilities Program is essential to develop partnership working and protocols in a number of areas of CCTV. I will also be working with the colleagues at the National Association of Surveillance Camera Managers and the London CCTV Managers group to get the broadest input possible to this work.

Why is this important?

Why is it important that there are agreements in place? Well, the vast majority of footage from local authority CCTV is ultimately used by the police in investigations – from minor offences to the most serious of crimes. As well as this many local authorities work closely with forces when they are responding to live incidents, for example directing officers on the ground.

Ensuring there are proper, robust and efficient agreements in place are extremely important. Although, I’m mindful that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is probably is not the right approach. What is right for one local authority and police force may not be right for another. What we are not doing is developing a template that simply is filled in by both parties, rather we are working up a framework which will cover the areas any good service level agreement should have in it.

These areas include – purpose and legitimacy, legal considerations, governance, information sharing, communication, training, surveillance types (overt and covert), finance, feedback, future technology and evaluation/review. The list is not exhaustive and some areas may not need to be used in an agreement. The point is to develop better partnership working that help local authorities and police forces work more effectively in our roles.

Properly funded and managed local authority CCTV systems are an essential tool for the prevention and detection of crime and public safety. Robust service level agreements can help put in place measures that mean local authorities can effectively evidence the value of that CCTV.

What do you think?

I’d be interested to hear views on this approach so if you have any please add a comment to this blog.

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  1. Comment by Darren Deex posted on

    Hi Tony, this is a really relevant subject for my current role - when do you think this framework will be available for use by front-line practitioners?

    • Replies to Darren Deex>

      Comment by Tony Gleason posted on

      Hi Darren, I hope that we will have the guidance in place by April 2020. Kind regards Tony

  2. Comment by Vlado Damjanovski posted on

    Hi Tony,
    I read your initiative with interest. Although I am an Australian, most people in the industry would know my name as an author of a number of technical books on CCTV which are used world-wide. I am also a member of the IEC TC-79 workgroup 12 (WG12) which worked on developing the modern IP VSS standards, known as 62676. I think UK uses the same standards, mirrored as BS EN 62676 documents.
    I am not a legal person and cannot comment on your local and government laws in regards to cameras, but I am sure that somewhere in such a document you will deal with cameras image quality. So, I wanted to make a technical suggestion that in such a case you should re-consider the pixel density metrics mentioned in the 62676-4 standard.
    There is an error spotted by the Australian committee members (which I am a member of) and as such we submitted a Corrigendum document to the IEC workgroup last year, for revision of the 62676-4.
    This is a considerable error, which - if ignored - may contribute towards lesser image quality being accepted as standards requirement. This will make many faces captured with such pixel density details be illegible or impossible to recognise, if and when needed.
    I am not sure when such corrections will be adopted by the IEC TC-79, but since you are starting a new initiative dealing with cameras, I thought it is important for me to raise the flag about such possible changes before you finalise your own document(s).
    Your UK representative in the IEC TC-79 WG12 should be able to help you if you require more details, but I am also available for further advise and assistance if needed.
    Kind regards from Australia

    • Replies to Vlado Damjanovski>

      Comment by Tony Gleason posted on

      Good morning Vlado, many thanks for your comments which I will pass on to Alex who leads the Standards group of the National Surveillance Camera Strategy.
      Kind Regards

  3. Comment by Philip Dey posted on

    Hi Tony
    This is a very relevant subject.
    I note you refer to Local Authorities, however Housing Associations such as ourselves who deploy CCTV to detect / deter ASB on our estates are often caught up in criminal incidents unrelated to our own investigations where the police know and subsequently request CCTV footage to assist with their investigations. Will Housing Associations be required to set up Service Level Agreements? Some 'HAs' cover a number of police forces

    Kind regards

    • Replies to Philip Dey>

      Comment by Tony Gleason posted on

      Hi Phil, thank you for your email. I am conscious that Local Authorities are only a part of the CCTV assets which the Police may use in an investigation. I hope that an addition to Local Authorities, Housing Associations, NHS, Universities and shopping centres will use parts of the of the document in partnership with the police.

      Kind Regards



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