The government is seeking views on a new code of practice that will encourage more effective use of CCTV systems, ensuring they are only used proportionately and are more focused on aiding the fight against crime.
The draft code, launched today, is based on the principle of surveillance by consent - meaning the public can be confident that cameras are not there to spy on them but to protect them and help in the fight against crime.
It will give the public the power to hold the police and local authorities to account through greater transparency and is designed to improve the effectiveness of CCTV and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR).
The code will provide straightforward guidance, helping the police and local authorities to increase image quality and boost the chances of catching criminals. It comes after Andrew Rennison was appointed as the first surveillance camera commissioner in September 2012.
Minister for criminal information Lord Taylor of Holbeach said:
‘Used effectively CCTV and ANPR are crucial tools for cutting crime and protecting the public but for too long we have seen these systems grow and develop without any proper framework or oversight.
‘Through this code of practice, and with an independent commissioner, we will ensure that for the first time there is a robust framework in place, one focused on helping the police and local authorities to cut crime, which will ensure CCTV and ANPR are used appropriately.’
The consultation, which runs until 21 March, will seek views on the scope and clarity of the draft code and its likely impact. The creation of the code is a requirement of the protection of freedoms act 2012.
Notes to editors
1. After due consideration is given to the consultation responses, the code of practice is expected to come into effect in summer 2013.
2. For more information contact the home office press office on 020 7035 3535.