Open Letter – Humberside Police Chief Constable

In the public interest, I publish below an email I sent today to Lee Freeman, Chief Constable, Humberside Police in relation to the failure to ensure East Riding CCTV systems are operated lawfully.

Humberside Police Chief Constable Lee Freeman

From: Andy Strangeway

Sent: Monday, September 23, 2019 1:54 PM

To: Lee 5568 Freeman

Subject: FOI 1547-19 1515-19 & DP 1516-19

Dear Chief Constable,

After waiting over three months for Humberside Police to address the serious concerns and failings I raised the reply I received is nothing short of a disgrace.

Humberside Police and the Town Councils involved clearly have no idea how to resolve the mess they have collectively walked into due to their incompetence. The result is that the CCTV systems in Driffield, Market Weighton and Pocklington cannot be used to “assist in the prevention and detection of offences and the safety of the public” as any information gathered would be inadmissible in a court of law. As for “enhancing public reassurance” the public are being misled. In essence, the CCTV systems are a shambles and the ultimate responsibility for this rests entirely with you.

The conduct of Humberside Police is typified by their statement:

“The system was set up under a Code of Practice by the Pocklington and Market Weighton Crime Prevention Panel to assist in the prevention and detection of offences and the safety of the public and enhancing public reassurance. We are now reviewing this along with roles and responsibilities and any legal obligations placed upon us.”

I am astounded that Humberside Police are in this position as all “roles and responsibilities and any legal obligations placed upon us” must be established prior to a CCTV system being put into operation. Humberside Police have failed the residents of Driffield, Market Weighton and Pocklington as they have sanctioned CCTV systems that are a criminals best friend as any evidence gathered cannot be used.

The arrogance of Humberside Police attempting to resolve this fiasco is clear to see:

“We do not believe that the footage has been used unlawfully, however would not be able to research all cases were CCTV had been utilised in the last 6 years within the time appropriate time limits as specified in Freedom of Information legislation.”

Has Humberside Police reviewed all cases going back to 2001? Of course they have not. This must be undertaken as a matter of urgency. Hiding behind Freedom of Information legislation given the breach of Data legislation is scandalous.

Humberside Police even blatantly suggest that they breach Data legislation:

“As previously stated we are happy to provide response to your subject access request re CCTV images , if you could confirm your identification and address for response we can get this to  you as soon as possible.”

As Humberside Police are not the Data Controller for the Pocklington CCTV system for them to deal with my subject access request is unlawful.

The following remains unaddressed:

  1. How can both Pocklington Town Council and Humberside Police appear to be “jointly operating” a CCTV system yet, after five days, neither knows who the actual CCTV Operator is?
  2. Why are Humberside Police monitoring a CCTV system that is not operating lawfully?
  3. How many hours per an average month do Humberside Police spend monitoring the Pocklington CCTV system?
  4. Before Humberside Police agree to monitor a CCTV system would it not be sensible and prudent to ensure the system is lawful?
  5. Have there been any convictions over the last 6 years where CCTV footage unlawfully gathered by Humberside Police has been used in the case for the prosecution?
  6. Are any of the UK’s other Police Forces monitoring unlawful CCTV systems like Humberside?
  7. Will you be referring this to the Home Office?
  8. Will you be reporting Humberside Police to the ICO?
  9. Will Humberside Police and/or ICO be taking action against Pocklington Town Council?

This whole affair should have been resolved in days, weeks at best, yet over three months down the line Driffield, Market Weighton and Pocklington have CCTV systems that are still unlawful and at best ornaments.

Given the utter incompetence in how Humberside Police have dealt with this I request a meeting with you at the earliest opportunity. If you choose to decline this request please forward email contact details of the Home Office and Police Complaints Board and I will refer.


Andy Strangeway

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