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Friday, July 29, 2016

Council gains CCTV certification

West Lancashire Borough Council has earned a national award for its CCTV operations.

The Council has successfully achieved the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s code of practice certification.

Obtaining the full five-year certification demonstrates the Council's compliance with the Surveillance Code of Practice and proves good practice. Certification also provides reassurance to the community that the Council's public open space CCTV scheme is managed appropriately; the information gathered from the cameras is used in an appropriate manner and in accordance with the Surveillance Code of Practice guidelines.

The Council currently operates 104 public open space cameras and these help to keep crime low in the borough. To qualify for the award the CCTV operations had to undergo a rigorous audit from an independent examiner.

Councillor Kevin Wright, portfolio holder for Community Safety, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the team and proves how hard they work to provide an effective CCTV operation for the borough.”

The certification scheme was launched by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner in November 2015 to enable organisations complying with the code of practice to be independently audited. This provides extra credibility and transparency to their claims of compliance.

The Council’s recent annual report on the CCTV it operates shows that CCTV staff helped police officers make 337 arrests in West Lancashire. They were involved in 525 missing/vulnerable person incidents and also identified 1525 incidents themselves through their general monitoring.

One of the issues the Council must have due regard to is the privacy of private residents. The software that is used allows for parts of the CCTV image to be completely blanked out. There are several existing cameras where privacy settings are installed to completely blank out windows or whole houses so that residents' privacy is ensured. If you have any comments about privacy in relation to existing cameras, please email community.safety@westlancs.gov.uk.


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