Published Monday, 12 July 2021
A national audit of the city’s approach to camera surveillance has concluded that Coventry meets the latest National Surveillance Camera Code of Practice standard.
The Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner wrote to confirm that Coventry City Council now complies with detailed standards that protect public privacy and freedoms.
The fact they have been audited means that they are described as being operated ethically and legitimately to an appropriate standard and is a further reassurance to local people about the way the cameras are used.
The Commissioner, Fraser Sampson, wrote to the Council earlier this week confirming the outcome of the audit of public space surveillance camera systems operated by the Council.
He wrote: “By successfully engaging with the accreditation bodies and my certification scheme, an organisation, and more importantly the public, maybe reassured that surveillance camera systems which intrude upon their privacy are being demonstrably operated ethically and legitimately to an appropriate standard.
“I acknowledge your excellent and most commendable commitment in that regard arising from your engagement with this process.”
Cllr Abdul Khan, Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities said: “This is excellent news because it means surveillance of public spaces is judged to be done in an ethical and legitimate way.
“For us we want to emphasise the use of cameras as a tool for addressing high levels of anti-social behaviour. It’s not about observing people going about their legitimate day to day activities.”
“The fact that a separate organisation have stated that we operate and manage data gathered on our surveillance systems in a fair, open and transparent way is really positive.”
Chief Inspector Helen Kirkman, lead for Coventry City of Culture Policing team, said: “We are working with Coventry City Council to monitor crime patterns and protect law abiding citizens.
She added: “We are really pleased that our approach is meeting high ethical standards of information sharing.”
CCTV surveillance cameras are monitored by Coventry City Council’s 24/7 control room. Information is shared between different organisations including the Police and the Business Improvement District.
Joy Adams, CCTV and Community Safety Manager, said: “We were very keen to have a thorough audit of not just the systems we operate but how we go about this and then share relevant information. It’s important especially that we have confirmation that we meet strict code of practice guidelines for camera use.