Surveillance Camera Commissioner
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Thanet District Council receive certification mark for CCTV, ANPR and body worn video

Thanet District Council are one of the first local authorities to get certification for CCTV, body worn video (BWV) and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) surveillance cameras.

This case study is about how Thanet District Council went about getting the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s third party certification mark. The processes they went through, the benefits to them as an organisation and how it benefits the people their cameras monitor.

The Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s third party certification scheme enables organisations to clearly demonstrate that they comply with the surveillance camera code of practice. For local authorities this is particularly important, as they have a legal requirement to pay due regard to the code.

A number of local authorities have attained the commissioner’s certification mark, but Thanet District Council are one of the first local authorities to achieve certification in respect of their CCTV, body worn video (BWV) and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) surveillance camera systems.

Kim Burgess, CCTV Control Centre Supervisor yesterday said:

As both the manager and myself were both relatively new to the department there was an opportunity to check that what we had implemented fitted the legal requirements. It was initially a suggestion from the Head of Service and once investigated further it showed this was a good move for us to take, this also assists with the Department’s Values within the authority. Being a non-statutory department anything that shows we are doing the job well assists.

Supporting communities

The certification process provides assurance to communities that surveillance cameras are used effectively, efficiently and proportionately to support them not spy on them. It also ensures that organisations are transparent about why they use cameras and where they are sited. This was some of the reasoning for Thanet applying for all three systems at once.

Kim explained:

We applied for all three (CCTV, BWV and ANPR) as our own codes of practice include all three – it made sense for us. All the systems are monitoring members of the public so having them all receive the mark can help inform people that we use them in accordance with the legal requirements set out in the code of practice.

Simple, accessible and affordable

Certification is simple, accessible and affordable and there are 3 security industry certification bodies that are currently qualified to audit against the code of practice – the SSAIBNSI and IQ Verify.

Kim yesterday said:

Even for three systems in one go the process was easy to follow. Initially it would have been a handwritten application but on asking, a word document was created and this made it easier to complete the application process. It did take some time to research some of the more technical answers however it only meant a few emails here and there.

Thanet were awarded full certification and are now able to proudly display the commissioner’s certification mark on their website and other publicity materials. This mark demonstrates clearly that they use their surveillance cameras effectively, efficiently and proportionately, that they comply with the 12 guiding principles in the code.

Kim yesterday said:

Certification marks showing compliance give an overall feeling of achievement to the department staff, to the council and the councillors. I’d strongly recommend local authorities consider certification for the various surveillance camera systems they operate.


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