Follow the code: south Essex Parking Partnership roll out body worn video in line with the code
Body worn video (BWV) is a surveillance camera system so falls under the jurisdiction of the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice. It’s important that relevant authorities who use BWV comply with the 12 guiding principles in the code – the south Essex parking partnership recently issued their Civil Enforcement Officers (CEO) with BWV. The use of any surveillance camera system must result from a legitimate aim and pressing need.
“Since the start of 2013 the CEOs had reported 95 incidents of serious verbal abuse or physical assault of which 26 were deemed serious enough to involve the police who had to rely on witness statements. Only a small amount of the 26 police involved incidents resulted in arrest and charge but the majority resulted in verbal warnings due to a lack of real evidence. So, we’ve introduced body worn video to enhance the working environment of our officers and to protect their safety when facing aggressive, threatening or abusive behaviour.”
Said Russell Panter, south Essex parking partnership enforcement operations manager
If you have established a pressing need for using BWV it’s crucial that ensure you comply with the other principles in the code.
“We familiarised ourselves with the code and made note of any points which we felt we would need to react to by way of introducing policies or guidelines. We then concentrated on the ’12 guiding principles’ and worked through them in detail. The guide to the 12 guiding principles document was a great help to us and ensured we remained on track and focused on the correct issues that were of relevance from the code of practice.”
The code and supporting documents will help you ensure whatever type of surveillance camera system you use or install will always protect communities rather than spy on them.
“Most importantly the code helped us realise we needed to carry out a privacy impact assessment. This meant we could look into the impact of using body worn video in a much more detailed way – the legislation, I.T. set up, hardware, software and impact on individuals’ privacy were all taken into account.”
By following the code south Essex partnership have been able to introduce BWV effectively, transparently and proportionately and the impact on the incidents of abuse is plain to see.
“The result of BWV has been quite comprehensive. The CEO’s have noted a distinct change of people’s attitudes and behaviours in general and we’ve seen about a 50% drop in the number of reported incidents.” Said Panter.
For more information about how you can ensure you’re complying with the code contact the Surveillance Camera Commissioner