Penryn Town Council is a member of the West Cornwall CCTV Management Group which oversees the maintenance and monitoring of CCTV across nine towns in West Cornwall. Cameras are linked to the Fire and Rescue Centre Headquarters at Tolvaddon where they are monitored regularly by a team of professionally trained officers and volunteers.
About the system
There are currently four CCTV cameras operating in Penryn town centre. The intention of the town centre CCTV systems is directed towards deterring anti-social behaviour and preventing crime, thereby providing a safer environment for the benefit of the whole community.
The Council accepts that there may be legitimate public concern over the use of CCTV to monitor public areas; accordingly, it is of fundamental importance that public confidence is maintained by fully respecting individual privacy. A degree of security has therefore been established to ensure the integrity of the recordings made and to ensure that what is seen remains highly confidential.
The scheme will be operated fairly and within the law, and only for the purposes either established or subsequently agreed in the Code of Practice. Where any domestic properties are within range of the cameras, privacy will be maintained so as not to impinge upon anyone’s civil liberties.
Effective use of CCTV requires a partnership between the Council and the Police, consultation regularly takes place and will continue increasingly in order to ensure that best working practices are carried out and best use is made of resources.
The CCTV operators are fully trained and work to a strict code of practice governing the use of the CCTV.
The CCTV system will be used for the following purposes:
- To work in partnership with the Police to improve community safety, and any other circumstances which will benefit the public good.
- To reduce the fear of crime, which includes assisting the Police in the prevention and/or detection of crime
- To enable the identification, apprehension and prosecution of people carrying out crime, disorder and other criminal matters.
- To assist Police Controllers to allocate an appropriate response to incidents occurring in the areas within the field of vision of the surveillance equipment.
- To assist the local authority with enforcement information and action under its licensing powers.
Access to CCTV footage
If you require access to CCTV footage in Penryn relating to a criminal offence, you should contact the Police. If you require access to CCTV footage in Penryn showing yourself or someone you represent for civil matters, you should apply to Cornwall Council using the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Data Subject Access Request form. The Town Council does not have direct access to CCTV footage.
Data Protection Act 1998
The Council is aware of and undertakes to comply with the requirements of the above Act in its CCTV monitoring system. It will follow not only those standards which are necessary to ensure compliance, but also it will operate with regard to those standards recommended as good practice.
Human Rights Act 1998
The Council complies with the European Convention on Human Rights which is directly enforceable under UK law. In principle, there is little change required in the practices and guidelines the Council has created but the penalties have increased if this good practice is not carried out, and the monitoring falls outside those objectives stated.
Freedom of Information Act 2000
The Council is bound by the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which encourages a presumption of disclosure of information by public authorities to the public upon request. Any request for disclosure pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 will however be considered in the light of the Authority’s obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998, and in the event of a conflict, the authority shall decide whether it is in the public interest to disclose the requested information.
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA)
Legislation seeks to ensure that all investigations carried out which may be considered to be covert or intrusive, are certified by an appropriate officer who must be an authorising officer at least two grades above the person in charge of the investigation.
It is possible that the Council’s CCTV service may be called upon to assist in such an investigation and in that case, it is essential that the Council be also covered by receipt of the authorisation.
Within the CCTV code of practice at no time would any third party be permitted to operate CCTV equipment.
For criminal matters, the Council will expect to provide evidence via the procedures laid down by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1996.