NEW governance arrangements for hundreds of council CCTV cameras in Carmarthenshire are being recommended.
The authority wants to ensure it’s complying with UK-wide regulations requiring a clear rationale for all cameras, proportionate and transparent use, and effectively-run systems.
The council has in excess of 90 CCTV systems with more than 600 cameras in premises, plus 79 vehicles with around 250 cameras, and also approximately 25 body worn cameras.
Departments use surveillance camera devices for purposes, including within its premises, car parks and on roads.
Carmarthenshire Council’s policy and resources committee has approved the a corporate policy for CCTV camera systems in public places, although a final decision will be made by the executive board.
The policy does not cover covert filming or cameras in schools, but schools will be asked to adopt the policy’s principles.
A report before the committee said the escalating use of recording devices generally in public places played a useful role in preventing and detecting crime, but also led to greater intrusion into the private lives of people going about their lawful business.
“This policy aims to set out standards relating to the use of such equipment that maximises effectiveness whilst at the same time minimises interference with the privacy of individuals whose images are captured by the devices,” it said.
Cameras must be visible, and care taken that cameras did not capture images or sounds of private spaces such as private houses.
Covert filming has to be authorised under separate legislation.
Cllr Ken Howell asked if there was cooperation between the council and Dyfed-Powys Police, given the latter has around 150 cameras in town centres across the force area.
A council officer said there was collaboration, and added that there was a clear period in which to capture and discard images.
She also said that any new requests for cameras would come through the council’s senior responsible officer for CCTV compliance.