The Surveillance Camera Code, introduced under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, has now come into effect within England and Wales.
The code which applies to CCTV and automatic number plate recognition systems used by local authorities and police forces, was initiated following concerns over the potential for abuse or misuse of surveillance by the state in public places.
The code itself lays out a number of guiding principles including the ‘use of surveillance camera systems being for a specified purpose which is in pursuit of a legitimate aim’. Other principles address individuals’ privacy, the need for transparency, and, clear responsibility and accountability. Overall, the Code seeks to re-assure the public that cameras used in public places are used proportionally and effectively.
The role of the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Andrew Rennison, will be to encourage compliance to the code, review the operation of the code and, provide advice about the code.