ICO Confirm Town Councils’ CCTV Systems Unlawful

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) yesterday confirmed that Market Weighton Town Council (MWTC) has not complied with their Data Protection obligations.” The same applies to Pocklington and Driffield Town Councils.

ICO stated:

“In particular, as MWTC is the owner of the CCTV cameras, it appears that MWTC is a “joint controller” along with Humberside Police which has access to the footage, and therefore both organisations have a responsibility for ensuring the cameras comply with the relevant legislation. As this has not been the case the footage captured by the cameras has not been lawful, in that the footage was not captured fairly and in a transparent manner.
It appears that CCTV cameras did not comply with data protection legislation in that individuals have not been appropriately informed about the use of the cameras in public spaces.

Further action required
We have written to MWTC about their information rights practices. We have told them they should now ensure that appropriate signs are in place as a matter of urgency. Unfortunately we are not able to force organisations to cease processing information and therefore I am unable to require the cameras be shut off until the signs are in place. I have however referred MWTC to guidance on our website and asked that it take any other steps it considers appropriate to ensure the CCTV cameras comply with legislation.

Right to judicial remedy and compensation [GDPR Articles 79 & 82]
Individuals have the right to take proceedings to court if they believe their information rights have been infringed. This means that if a court is satisfied that the individual’s rights have been infringed it may order the controller or processor in question to take steps to comply with its Data protection obligations. Individuals who have suffered material or non-material damage (such as distress) as a result of an infringement may also be able to receive compensation from the controller or processor.”

Damning Failures

The main purpose of CCTV is to prevent and detect crime. Sadly those in Driffield, Pocklington and Market Weighton fail to achieve this function due to their operation being unlawful.

Driffield, Pocklington and Market Weighton Town Councils have made a catalogue of damning failures. The compensation that the Town Councils will have to pay will be financed by the Council Tax payers in each of the towns. As per GDPR Articles, 79 & 82 compensation can be claimed by all those convicted on unlawful, and thus inadmissible, evidence. There could be over 2,000 cases.

  1. Prior to my raising the issue in June 2019 with all the Town Councils and Humberside Police the collective failure by all four organisations resulted in unlawfully gathered evidence been used in court cases. The very use of such evidence made any other evidence null and void. In essence, a criminals charter had been created.
  2. All reputable businesses would have corrected any Data Protection breaches raised with them within a week. Yet nearly five months after raising my concerns with the four organisations all CCTV systems are still operating unlawfully. In essence, the criminals charter in full knowledge has continued.
  3. Why have the Town Councils and Humberside Police engaged in a course of collusion instead of making the CCTV systems fit for purpose?
  4. Why have the Town Councils and Humberside Police not informed residents and businesses that no information can be gathered from the CCTV systems to encourage all to take appropriate actions?

Fortunately, due to my raising the issue of the unlawful CCTV systems for the past five months, Humberside Police will hopefully have avoided using such evidence.

Legal Action

Due to all three Town Councils failing to fulfil my subject access request my right to judicial remedy and compensation as per GDPR Articles 79 & 82 is open to me.

In the interests of the public purse as Driffield Town Council are the only organisation of the four that requested a meeting with me, I am open to an offer of out of court settlement with them.

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