SNP have washed their hands of CCTV code


Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes MSP today warned that Scottish Government Ministers have washed their hands of Scotland’s CCTV code.    

Ms McInnes was speaking after answers to Parliamentary Questions revealed that the Scottish Government appears to have taken no active role in ensuring the National Strategy for Public Space CCTV is implemented.

The answers also showed that CCTV practitioners' users groups, set up as part of the 2011 strategy, no longer meet.

These revelations follow recent reports that a number of Scottish local authorities have no audit policy in place to ensure that use of public space CCTV complies with data protection legislation.

Commenting, Alison McInnes MSP said:

"The answers to my parliamentary questions show the Scottish Government has washed its hands of checking whether its own CCTV guidelines are being followed. Ministers have made no effort to check if their 2011 strategy is being implemented or whether the privacy of law abiding citizens is being protected.

"A substantial minority of councils in Scotland have no audit policy in place to ensure that they comply with the data protection act. Police Scotland's assessment of our public space CCTV network revealed a ramshackle monitoring system that may not respect basic privacy laws. 

“Ministers need to look again at how their guidelines are being applied and whether there is a case for a wider review. Liberal Democrats in government took steps to tighten controls on the use of CCTV in England and Wales. There is a strong case for doing the same in Scotland too."

Ms McInnes’ written PQ answers are as follows:

23 July 2015

Index Heading: Learning and Justice

Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government whether all operators of public space CCTV systems are registered with the Scottish Information Commissioner.

S4W-26432


Michael Matheson:

This information is not held centrally.

23 July 2015

Index Heading: Learning and Justice

Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government what information it has on whether a copy of the national CCTV standards, the code of practice issued by the Information Commissioner's Office and the operational manual is available in all CCTV control centres and whether a whistleblowing procedure has been established.

S4W-26431

Michael Matheson:

Recommended arrangements and procedures for the operation of CCTV control centres are set out in the National Strategy for Public Space CCTV which was published by the Scottish Government in March 2011. Compliance with these recommendations is a matter for individual CCTV providers.


23 July 2015

Index Heading: Learning and Justice

Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of whether public space CCTV owners and operators are complying with the standards and regulatory framework for CCTV in Scotland.

S4W-26430

Michael Matheson:

Compliance with the relevant legislative requirements and standards for the provision and operation of public space CCTV is a matter for individual local authorities and other operators.

 

23 July 2015

Index Heading: Learning and Justice

Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government whether all public space CCTV providers publish annual reports on performance in a publicly accessible format.

S4W-26429

Michael Matheson:

The National Strategy for Public Space CCTV published in March 2011 recommends that each local authority and other public space CCTV provider should publish an annual report detailing performance in a publicly accessible format. Publication is a matter for individual providers.

 

23 July 2015

Index Heading: Learning and Justice

Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government how it is promoting the (a) legislative requirements and (b) code of practice issued by the Information Commissioner's Office to CCTV system owners and users.

S4W-26428

Michael Matheson:

The Scottish Government published the National Strategy for Public Space CCTV in March 2011. It was created to provide guidance and a common set of principles to operators of public space CCTV across Scotland. The Strategy does not impose requirements on CCTV operators – predominantly local authorities – but seeks to provide advice and clarity to local partners for decisions on the development of their CCTV systems.

It is for individual operators, and operators in the private sector, to ensure compliance with current legislation and to take note of the good practice set out in the Information Commissioner's code of practice.

23 July 2015

Index Heading: Learning and Justice

Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government whether a national CCTV practitioners' users group has been established and, if so, on how many occasions it has met since March 2011; when it last met, and what the membership is.

S4W-26427

Michael Matheson:

Following publication of the National Strategy for Public Space CCTV in March 2011, the Scottish Community Safety Network (SCSN) facilitated a Scottish National CCTV Practioners’ Group, along with Practitioners' Groups for North, East and West of Scotland. Arrangements for the meetings, including dates and membership are a matter for the SCSN. The Scottish Government does not hold this information centrally. I understand that the groups no longer meet.

23 July 2015

Index Heading: Learning and Justice

Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government whether it has considered establishing a surveillance camera code of practice for the (a) public and (b) private sector.

S4W-26423

Michael Matheson:

 

The National Strategy for Public Space CCTV was published by the Scottish Government in March 2011. It provides guidance and a common set of principles to operators of public space CCTV across Scotland. The Government has no plans at present to publish a further code of practice governing the use of surveillance cameras.

 

Use of CCTV in the private sector is regulated by the UK Government under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998. In addition, the Information Commissioner has published a code of practice for surveillance cameras and personal information which sets out guidance on data protection issues and the use of images for those involved in operating CCTV and other surveillance systems.

23 July 2015

Index Heading: Learning and Justice

Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government what information it has on how many private sector CCTV cameras are in use in Scotland.

S4W-26424

Michael Matheson:

The Scottish Government does not hold information on private sector CCTV cameras.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                           


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