Surveillance camera code – summary of responses to the consultation (accessible version)

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We have carried out statutory consultations, as required by article 29 of the 2012 law on the protection of freedoms. The statutory people consulted are:

(a) persons appearing to the Secretary of State to be representative of the opinions of persons who are, or are likely to be, subject to the obligation under Article 33 (1) (obligation to take account of the code *) as The Secretary of State considers appropriate,

b) Association of Chiefs of Police,

(c) the Information Commissioner,

(d) the Chief Oversight Commissioner, [now Investigatory Powers
Commissioner]

(e) the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, (f) the Welsh Ministers, and

(g) such other person as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

* These are the police and local authorities.

We wrote to representatives of all of the organizations listed in (a) to (f) and allowed them six weeks for responses. Additionally, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner conducted a stakeholder consultation (g) and also announced the consultation on his webpage.

We received six responses from statutory consulted people. The National Council of Chiefs of Police confirmed that it had no comments, although we have separately received some suggestions from a portfolio manager. The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners was also in favor. The Office of the Information Commissioners and the Office of the Commissioners for Investigative Powers suggested clarifications on GDPR terminology and references to the Regulation of Investigative Powers Act 2000, respectively. Some made suggestions that were outside the scope of the Code and therefore could not be reflected here, such as the suggestion that the government should adopt the Code, at least voluntarily, throughout its area; or changes that would be more appropriate in other guidelines referenced by the Code.

The surveillance camera commissioner received 36 responses. Nine of them came from representatives of statutory consulted persons (police and local authorities), who also expressed broad support. These again included some points which were outside the scope of the Code, as well as others which could be considered for inclusion in other guidance.

Others consulted included academics, tech companies, representatives of transportation networks, CCTV users and civil liberties groups. Most respondents supported the proposed changes. A number suggested additional, more detailed text. We are thinking about how best to implement these suggestions. As suggested by those consulted, we have added further references to the legislation in the definitions section and a reference to the new 2021 Forensic Science Regulation Act. As with the other responses, some suggestions went beyond textual changes and were outside the scope of consultation. .

We had used the following approach when we thought about how to update the Code:

  • reflect legislative changes since 2013
  • reflect at a high level the Bridges v South Wales Police decision; more detailed relevant guidance will be available through local Police College and Police Force policies; we also noted that there are also guidelines available from the Surveillance Camera Commissioner and the Information Commissioner’s office
  • make the document easier to use by simplifying it
  • not to add new burdens to those who should heed the Code

We used the same criteria when reviewing the proposed changes during the consultation. We have accepted:

  • changes in legislation and associated terminology, including to list all major relevant legislation referred to in the document in the definitions section and to refer to the Forensic Science Regulation Act
  • factual changes, clarifying or simplifying the document

We also received suggestions, which are not reflected in the document, including for:

  • broaden the additions to Principle 12 to apply beyond simple policing: Bridges was a judgment specific to policing
  • broaden the scope of who must follow the Code – this would add burdens and require separate legislation outside the scope of this exercise
  • add new text – we think a lot of these could be incorporated into other guidance
  • add details on specific technologies, for example drones and body-worn video – however, these are already covered by the general definition of surveillance camera systems at the beginning of the Code, and the fact that the Code is based on principles rather than a specific technology helps ensure that it does not quickly become obsolete as technologies and use cases develop
  • set industry standards – this is potentially useful, but would involve a separate exercise and could be covered in other guidance
  • ban certain technologies – the government is committed to empowering police to use new technologies to protect the public while maintaining public trust and the Code is a tool to help them do so


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