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CCTV questions as council reveals it has no register to show where its cameras are

It also could not confirm if the cameras complied with the code of practice

A council has been warned it has no central register to identify where all its CCTV cameras are installed.

The oversight was revealed in an audit report presented to Middlesbrough councillors on Thursday afternoon.

Security chiefs have rolled out more devices this year as part of a push to clamp down on fly tipping and trouble in hot spots around the town.

In March, a £50,000 pilot scheme to roll out dozens of CCTV cameras was backed to help gather more evidence and catch criminal dumpers in the act.

Last year, Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston told a meeting he’d install as many as 500 cameras “if that’s what it took”.

But Phil Jeffrey, assistant director audit assurance, told the corporate affairs and audit committee the lack of a register was a “significant issue” which had been flagged up during its internal annual report.

He added: “This identified there was no central register available to identify the location of all CCTV camera equipment operated by the council."

“The council was also unable to confirm that all CCTV systems across the council had been checked for compliance with the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice and relevant legislation.”

Action has been promised in response to the missing list - with a register of each device and its location to be created.

Meanwhile, a fresh surveillance strategy is to be agreed next week to ensure the council uses its CCTV lawfully.

Councils can use covert techniques to gather information about individuals and companies suspected of wrongdoing under the Regulatory Investigatory Powers Act - otherwise known as RIPA.

Authorities tend to use RIPA powers to uncover cases of illicit tobacco or under-age sales.

Middlesbrough Council’s use of RIPA has reduced every year since 2015 - with no applications made in 2020 due to the pandemic.

A council spokesman said: “Middlesbrough’s network of public realm CCTV cameras is monitored round the clock from the town’s CCTV Control Room."

“The system plays a key role in crime prevention and detection and public protection, and the council is fully aware of the locations of all the cameras that feed into the control room."

“However the recent audit highlighted a number of unregistered cameras attached to stand-alone projects and buildings."

“Work is under way to compile a comprehensive register, and to ensure the entire network is fully compliant with the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice.”

Copyright: TeessideLive

Original article here

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1 Comment

Unknown member
Aug 10, 2021

I think this is just lazy journalism really.

I found the list of camera locations for the Middlesbrough CCTV cameras on their website in about 3 clicks!

The real story is about compliance with the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice. I don't think it's a matter of CCTV Managers not caring about such things but often, it's more about having the skills & tools to be able to complete these things together with having the resources to stay on top of it alongside all the other, sometime competing, priorities. If this sounds familiar, we are here to help you.

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