Code of practice for surveillance cameras comes into force

Code of practice for surveillance cameras comes into force

About the code

The code of practice sets out guidelines for CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems with the aim of promoting an ethos of surveillance by informed consent and ensuring that any use of such systems is:

  • in pursuit of a legitimate aim
  • necessary to meet a pressing need
  • proportionate
  • effective and
  • compliant with any legal obligations.

The code was originally published in June 2013 and was brought into force on 12 August 2013.

To whom does it apply?

Relevant authorities (as defined by section 33 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012) – this includes (among other public bodies) local authorities, the Greater London Authority and any chief officer of a police force in England and Wales.

The code acknowledges that many surveillance systems in operation within public places are operated by the private sector, the third sector or other public authorities not currently covered by the code.

Guiding principles

The code includes the following guiding principles to be seen as best practice standards that system operators should adopt:

  1. The use of a surveillance camera system must always be for a specified purpose which is in pursuit of a legitimate aim and necessary to meet an identified pressing need.
  2. The use of a surveillance camera system must take into account its effect on individuals and their privacy, with regular reviews to ensure its use remains justified.
  3. There must be as much transparency in the use of a surveillance camera system as possible, including a published contact point for access to information and complaints.
  4. There must be clear responsibility and accountability for all surveillance camera system activities including images and informati

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