The CCTV User Group welcomes the appointment of Fraser Sampson as the new independent Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner (BSCC).
The appointment was announced 9 March 2021 by the Home Secretary Priti Patel. The new BSCC combines two roles which were previously separate offices: the Surveillance Camera Commissioner and the Biometrics Commissioner. Previously held by two part-time appointees, the new role is a full-time position.
The Home Office said in a statement that Fraser Sampson, who took up his post on 1 March, will promote compliance with the Surveillance Camera Code and rules on police use of DNA and fingerprints.
Peter Webster, director of the CCTV User Group, welcomed Fraser’s appointment, saying: “We welcome the appointment of the new commissioner to oversee and promote compliance with the CCTV Code of Practice. Fraser comes to the office with excellent credentials, and we look forward to working with him in his new role to promote high standards in the use of CCTV surveillance for public safety and security.”
Ilker Dervish, vice chair of the CCTV User Group, commented: “The members of the CCTV User Group welcome the appointment of Fraser Sampson as the new Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner as a clear confirmation that the Home Office continues to recognise the importance of public space CCTV systems in our communities. We are sure that Fraser Sampson’s experience and expertise will be a valuable contribution to the continuing development of regulations, guidelines and standards signposting a clear path to more effective and professional use of video surveillance systems.”
The position of Surveillance Camera Commissioner had been unfilled since the departure of Tony Porter in December 2020. Tony held the office and successfully promoted the code of practice for seven years.
Fraser was formerly an Honorary Professor and Research Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University. He is a Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England & Wales. Between 2016 and 2019, he was Chief Executive of the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner in North Yorkshire. Between 2006 and 2019, he was the Chief Executive and General Counsel for the Police & Crime Commissioner in West Yorkshire and the Executive Director of the Civil Nuclear Police Authority. He was also a police officer for West Yorkshire Police and the British Transport Police, between 1982 and 1996.
The Biometrics Commissioner and Surveillance Camera Commissioner roles were established by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 which introduced the regime to govern the retention and use by the police of DNA samples, profiles and fingerprints, and to promote appropriate overt use of surveillance camera systems by relevant authorities in England and Wales.
The CCTV Code of Practice is based on a document originally produced by the CCTV User Group which was adopted and developed by the first SCC, Andrew Rennison.