How we use surveillance cameras
The use of surveillance cameras by the police has to be carried out in a responsible way following relevant legislation and guidance and to support the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan and the Chief Constable’s Delivery Plan. This page explains how we do this.
We use surveillance cameras for:
- prevention and detection of crime
- management of incidents and events
- gathering intelligence relating to criminal activity
- improving public safety and community confidence
The cameras we use fall into four main types of system:
- CCTV (including shared local authority and community safety cameras, in-vehicle cameras and evidence-gathering cameras).
- ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition).
- Body Worn Video cameras (BWV), worn by officers to record video and audio evidence when attending certain types of incidents.
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (‘UAVs’ also known as ‘drones’), used to record still or video images.
The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice and how we comply with it
We assess our use of each surveillance camera system according to the information management requirements in the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice, which provides guidance on the appropriate and effective use of surveillance cameras in England and Wales.
The code is based on 12 guiding principles that strike a balance between protecting the public and upholding civil liberties.
We've carried out a Surveillance Camera Code of Practice Self-Assessment, which makes sure we comply with these 12 guiding principles and we review each category of camera every year.
We've also carried out a Data Protection Impact Assessment to identify any privacy-related issues with these types of cameras.
Holding surveillance data
It's important that data from cameras isn't held any longer than necessary. We follow the guidance on the Management of Police Information – Authorised Professional Practice on the retention and disposal of data.
CCTV, ANPR, BWV and UAVs all have different retention periods.
This notice sets out the rights of data subjects under provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018 in respect of data held on the National ANPR Service.
How we handle evidence from surveillance cameras
When we gather evidence from cameras we must make sure we can prove that it's been correctly handled and logged – this process is known as continuity.
Master CCTV, ANPR, BWV and UAV data can't be moved unless continuity can be proved.
When an officer takes possession of a data recording, they must get a statement of continuity from the system operator.
To maintain continuity, a log of every movement of the data should be kept, noting the time the data was moved and who by. All entries must be countersigned by a witness.
A record of the identity of those who have viewed the data and the viewing conditions should be kept.
Data is held in secure locations and access is restricted to those with permission and a legitimate need. A robust audit process to control who views data must be in place.
We take information security and any data we capture about individuals on surveillance cameras very seriously. Read our privacy notice to find out what we do with the information we have.
Freedom of information requests
If you want to read our surveillance camera Privacy Impact Assessments or our Surveillance Camera Code of Practice Self-Assessment, contact us using our online freedom of information request form.
Subject access requests
If you want to find out if we have any data about you or your vehicle that we've captured by surveillance cameras, you can make a subject access request.
If you have any other enquiries about our use of surveillance cameras, please contact:
Superintendent Darren De'Ath