The coalition government published the Protection of the Freedoms Bill, following an announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. In the Bill, reference is made to the appointment of a Surveillance Camera Commissioner, and to the stipulation of a Code of Practice for the surveillance industry.
The CCTV Section of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the trade association for the professional security industry in the U.K., believes that it is in everybody's interest that this technology is applied to best effect to fight crime within an agreed framework, which addresses private concerns and other issues, so the public's positive regard for surveillance can be maintained. For this reason, the Association and its members have welcomed the Bill and the introduction of carefully thought-out regulation, provided adequate consultation takes place. For this reason the BSIA is keen to cooperate with the government to inform the Code of Practice.
The BSIA's CCTV section has always been a strong advocate of best practice and standards, regularly issuing industry guidance on the effective employment of surveillance. A number of documents and standards are in fact already in place. The BSIA's guide to privacy masking, for example, addresses privacy concerns by specifying that commercial surveillance systems should be designed to limit their coverage so that they do not point to areas or “spaces” which are outside their intended use.
"The BSIA has a long track record in working alongside the UK government to advise on CCTV, for example to influence the formation of the National CCTV Oversight Body and appointment of an interim CCTV regulator with the previous Government,” said Pauline Norstrom, Chairman of the BSIA's CCTV Section.
"Regulation represents a key step forward for the industry in terms of the development of national CCTV standards, image quality and training, as well as improving public understanding of CCTV technology and its capabilities.
"The BSIA has been very active in this area, making significant contributions to the work of the National CCTV Strategy, and as such, the Association hopes to continue to advise the coalition government as it plans to develop this area. It is hoped that the government will continue to engage with industry in order to ensure the effectiveness of such developments.”