There are 78 cameras located across Tamworth, funded by the government and Tamworth Borough Council. Working with the police, Tamworth CCTV can view and process third party footage. The CCTV Vicon digital system is monitored 24 hours a day, 365 day a year.
Who do I contact if I have a complaint? You can contact any Staffordshire police station or local authority office. Any complaint will be dealt with in accordance with existing rules and regulations to which all members of the police and local authorities - including CCTV operators - must comply with.
You can also submit a Subject Access Request Form (pdf).
What is Closed Circuit Television? It is a television system, which operates on a "closed loop" basis. Unlike broadcast television, which is available to anyone with a suitable receiver, CCTV pictures are only available to those directly connected to the loop, which in Tamworth's case, is the central monitoring control room. The loop is a physical link consisting of a fibre optic cable, which carries the picture from the camera to a monitor.
Who sees the picture? Tamworth Borough Council employ officers who continually monitor the pictures 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Any pictures viewed by the operators can also be seen by Staffordshire Police officers.
Who has access to the control centre? Access is restricted to the CCTV Manager, maintenance contractor, police and the CCTV operators. It is restricted to protect the integrity of the evidence that is recorded on a daily basis. Operational procedures and a code of practice based on Home Office guidelines strictly control the centre's operation. These cover every aspect of the running of the CCTV system, for example where the cameras should or should not be looking.
How are the Police alerted to an incident? Tamworth Police are alerted to an incident via the police radio in the CCTV control room. The operators are in constant contact with the police's central control room. The police radio has the capability for the CCTV operator to speak to an officer at an incident on a one to one basis, much like a mobile phone.
How long are the images stored on file? Public space CCTV images are retained in secure storage for 31 days, and then destroyed without viewing unless required by the police for investigating an incident.
How do I get access to CCTV images? You can submit a Subject Access Request Form (pdf) form.
- The camera is programmed to block out windows - the privacy zone (a grey block) will remain on the windows
- All cameras that over look residential premises are programmed with privacy zones
Data Protection Acts, 1984 and 1998
The eight principles of the Data Protection Act, are adhered to:
- Obtain and process personal data fairly and lawfully
- Hold the data only for the purposes specified
- Use the data only for the purposes, and disclose only to the people, shown within these policies and procedures
- Only hold data, which is adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose for which the data are held
- Ensure personal data is accurate and where necessary, kept up to date
- Hold data for no longer than is necessary
- Allow individuals access to information held about them and, where appropriate, correct it or erase it
- Take security measures to prevent unauthorised or accidental access to, alteration, disclosure, or loss and destruction or information
All members of the partnership, (i.e. all local authorities and Staffordshire Police) must register their use of CCTV with the Data Protection Registrar. For the purpose of "crime prevention, crime detection and public safety and for the prosecution of offenders".
Civil Liberties - guiding principles
Every CCTV scheme must ensure the principles of civil liberties are not being breached. Fundamentally, it must be shown that:
- Individual members of the public are not being harassed
- No other agency (e.g. the police) is in 'regular' control of local authority CCTV coverage
- The operators of the cameras will operate with the utmost probity at all times
- Every use of the camera will accord with the purposes and key objectives of the scheme and shall be in compliance with these policies and procedures and with supplementary Local Authority Codes of Practice and Operating Procedures (if the latter does not contradict the earlier)
- Cameras will not be used to look into private property. 'Privacy zones' may be programmed into the system as required in order to ensure that cameras do not survey the interior of any private property within range of the scheme
- Camera operators will be mindful of exercising prejudices that may lead to complaints of the scheme being used for purposes other than those for which it is intended. The operators may be required to justify the interest in, or recording of, any particular individual, group of individuals or property at any time by virtue of the scheme or by its managers
This is further supported and encompassed in UK law, by both the Data Protection Act 1998 - CCTV Codes of Practice (July 2000), and the Human Rights Act 1998.