The office of the commissioner was created under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 to further regulate CCTV.
The act required a code of practice to be produced about surveillance camera systems. The surveillance camera code of practice sets out new guidelines for CCTV and automatic number plate recognition.
The role of the surveillance camera commissioner is to:
- encourage compliance with the surveillance camera code of practice
- review how the code is working
- provide advice to ministers on whether or not the code needs amending.
The commissioner has no enforcement or inspection powers and works with relevant authorities to make them aware of their duty to have regard to the code. The code is not applicable to domestic use in private households. The commissioner also must consider how best to encourage voluntary adoption of the code by other operators of surveillance camera systems
What the commissioner is responsible for:
- providing advice on the effective, appropriate, proportionate and transparent use of surveillance camera systems
- reviewing how the code is working and if necessary add others to the list of authorities who must have due regard to the code
- providing advice on operational and technical standards
- encouraging voluntary compliance with the code
What the commissioner isn’t responsible for:
- enforcing the code
- inspecting CCTV operators to check they are complying with the code
- providing advice with regard to covert surveillance
- providing advice with regard to domestic CCTV systems