The CCTV industry in England and Wales is to have an Oversight Body and an interim regulator, it was announced yesterday.
Policing Minister David Hanson, in a written statement to the House of Commons, said the new arrangements were put in place “to progress implementation of the National CCTV Strategy published in 2007”. (Full details of his statement here)
He said the changes were designed to:
* ensure the industry, both public and private, can contribute to national standards
* raise public awareness of the benefits of CCTV
* hold accountable owners and users of CCTV systems.
The Forensic Science Regulator, Andrew Rennison, has been appointed interim CCTV regulator for a period of up to 12 months. He will work with the National CCTV Strategy Board on six key areas:
* Developing national standards
* Determining training requirements
* Scoping out regulation
* Promoting public understanding of CCTV
* Advising on the implementation of the National Strategy
* Building an effective complaints process.
The National CCTV Oversight Body – of which the regulator will be part – will comprise a Strategy Delivery Board which will be supported by an Independent Advisory Group. The Delivery Board will be a slimmed down version of the Programme Board which at its peak had some 25 members. The eight members of the Delivery Board will be drawn from government including the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and ACPO.
I spoke with Andrew Rennison yesterday, shortly after the Ministerial announcement. My interview with him will appear in the next edition of CCTV Image, to be published at end of January 2010, but here’s a sneak preview of what he said to me.
His primary objective is to assess the framework for regulation of CCTV in England and Wales with the objective of producing a report for Ministers by the end of 2010 that will make recommendations for the way forward:
* Does the regulation of CCTV require legislation or will voluntary compliance be sufficient?
* Do we need a CCTV regulator and, if so, what form should it take and where should it sit within the structure of government?
* What standards are required for the industry for equipment, installation and operations?
* To what extent should privately-owned CCTV be regulated?
* What standards are required for the forensic use of CCTV?
Mr Rennison made it clear that, although he is the Forensic Science Regulator, his remit to examine the CCTV industry goes further than the “forensic science bit”. He is not here to regulate the industry across the board – as the interim regulator, his job is to identify the areas that need regulation and draw up a framework and identify the resources that will be required to implement it.
He is keen to consult as widely as possible with the industry. He will attend meetings of the Independent Advisory Group along with organisations like ACPO, the Local Government Association, Liberty, the HOSDB and the CCTV User Group (representing owners and users of public space CCTV systems).
Mr Rennison said he aims to have a plan published by mid-February which will lay out a roadmap for his year in office. A public consultation document will be published by July to provide interested parties four to five months to offer their views. Based on public feedback, he will write his final report for the Government (whoever they may be!) for the end of 2010.
More on my interview with Mr Rennison in the January 2010 edition of CCTV Image which will be available in print and online in PDF format from our website – www.cctvimage.com.