IQ VERIFY is in the process of formulating and then launching a new organisational certification in surveillance that combines the benefits of BS 7958:2015 with the current Surveillance Camera Code of Practice.
Recently, Professor Fraser Sampson (the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner at the Home Office) announced his resignation from the role as of the end of October in view of the contents of the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill in which it has been written that the Office of the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner is to be abolished.
This somewhat controversial move by the Government places the operators of surveillance regimes in a difficult position for a number of reasons.
First of all, the need for a Surveillance Camera Code of Practice – and for surveillance system operators to have due regard to this Code – remains a key requirement of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (Sections 29-36).
Further, the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill is obviously not current legislation. It’s a draft Bill that has yet to be presented to the House of Lords (it’s currently at the report stage ahead of the third reading in the House of Commons) and has not received Royal Assent.
In addition, demonstrating adherence to the existing Surveillance Camera Code of Practice holds value for organisations in the public and private sector alike, from operational efficacy and risk mitigation through to commercial considerations and alignment with professional standards. Removal of this benefit without replacement represents an objective loss for all involved.
Potential for amendment
Based upon private communications with the Home Office and members of the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill’s Committee, IQ Verify remains confident that the document will be amended by the House of Lords and that the Code of Practice will be passed through to an existing body as part of the handover procedure.
IQ Verify comments: “However, the fundamental truth is that what the Government says or doesn’t say on any given day does very little to alter the need for – or the benefits to be derived from – verifiable surveillance standards, both at an organisational and public level. This is particularly the case when we consider the somewhat complimentary requirements of upcoming Parliamentary Bills including the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Draft Bill (aka Martyn’s Law), for which measures in relation to monitoring the premises and management of sensitive information are key components.”
Behind the scenes, IQ Verify – which was established in 2013 as an independent international certification body accredited by UKAS – has been working with a number of key industry stakeholders to ‘plug the gap’ in recognised surveillance standards.
Over the next few weeks, the Kidderminster-based company will be releasing a three-stage certification framework that combines the benefits of BS 7958:2015 with the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice in order to enhance the accessibility and recognition of UK surveillance standards.
Drawing upon existing measures of compliance, this all-in-one framework is being developed to provide continuity, tailored to the needs of the organisation, in order to support and highlight Best Practice in surveillance operation.
The certification is currently being piloted. IQ Verify is inviting anyone who wants to join the pilot to contact the business for further information.
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