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.