A simple Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Market Weighton Town Council (MWTC) has revealed that the Town Council are in breach of the Home Office Surveillance Camera Commissioners compliance guidelines.
Market Weighton Town Mayor – Councillor Peter Hemmerman
As I was given to understand that MWTC operates a considerable number of static CCTV cameras I made a simple FOI request for “information as to all of their locations”.
The response revealed a major failure by MWTC:
“The Market Weighton Town Council do not hold documents detailing the camera locations. Cameras are stalled in the High Street, Market Place, War Memorial Playing Field and the Aspen Play Park. All cameras are clearly visible.”
The response clearly demonstrates that the system no longer meets Home Office guidance as MWTC should have such information in the required assessment.
It is a fundamental requirement that a CCTV system does not operate in areas of low crime and anti-social behaviour. There must be evidence of a significant level of crime. The law and regulations governing the use of CCTV have changed dramatically over the last few years and MWTC must ensure that the CCTV system it operates fully complies with the law. This must include a robust and thorough review of the CCTV network. This assessment would need to be supported by data from Humberside Police.
Upon completion of an assessment if any cameras are being used in locations where there is little or no crime recorded they no longer meet the legal requirement for use as set out by the Home Office Surveillance Camera Commissioners compliance guidelines. If this is the case all such cameras must be removed.
Civil liberties must always be respected even by Big Brother.
I have given MWTC 10 working days to provide the elusive assessment to me. If I do not receive the assessment I will have no option but to refer the case to the Surveillance Camera Commissioner.