Closed circuit TV standard is available

10 November 2015

BSI, the business standards company, has revised BS 7958:2015 Closed circuit television (CCTV) – Management and operation – Code of practice. The changes take into account the introduction of the CCTV Code of Practice issued by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner (SCC) as required by the Freedoms of Information Act 2012.

Closed circuit television (CCTV) schemes provide the public with added reassurance that the environment in which they have the ‘right to visit’ is safe and protected. However it is crucial for them to have confidence that surveillance cameras are being used to protect and support them, rather than spy on them. The government considers that wherever overt surveillance in public places is used it shall be in pursuit of a legitimate aim and meets a pressing need.

CCTV schemes are set up in public places such as:

  • Areas where the public are encouraged to enter, such as town centres, shopping malls, public transport, educational and health establishments, etc
  • Schemes that overlook a public place, such as public footpaths, roads, bridle-ways for traffic monitoring and traffic enforcement schemes
  • Private schemes where a camera view includes a partial view of a public place

CCTV schemes that process personal data are obliged to conform to certain legislation such as the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. BS 7958 is designed to supplement this legislation and aims to ensure fairness, purpose and responsibility. For a public space CCTV system to be in use an Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence is required. Although monitoring for traffic offences does not require an SIA Licence*. 

Anne Hayes, Head of Market Development for Governance & Risk at BSI said: “The Surveillance Camera Commissioner has already endorsed the use of this suite of CCTV standards for systems which need to follow the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice. This type of unity across standards can only provide the best reassurance and peace of mind for the public who rely on Video Surveillance Systems and CCTV to be operating optimally, should they need to be accessed at a later date.” 

BS 7958 will be part of the best practice guidance for all local authority monitoring centres, police CCTV control rooms and all private industry CCTV control rooms.

What BS 7958 does:

  • Provides a set of a code of practice for  public space CCTV systems, taking due regard of the 12 principles of the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice
  • Gives recommendations for the management and operation of CCTV within a controlled environment, where data that might be offered as evidence is received, stored, reviewed or analyzed
  • Offers advice on best practice to assist owners in obtaining reliable information that can be used as evidence
  • It applies to the monitoring and management of public spaces, including automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) and traffic enforcement cameras
  • Includes the operation and management of body worn cameras
  • Pays attention to the Private Security Industry Act 2001, which contains provisions for regulating the private security industry

Some of the organizations that have been involved in the collaborative consensus-based development process include: British Security Industry Association, Home Office Science,  IQ Verify, ITS UK Security and Resilience Interest Group, National Security Inspectorate, SSAIB, Security Industry Authority, Security Monitoring Centres Ltd. and Scottish CCTV & Executive.                                               


Notes to editors

- *However, if operators monitoring for traffic offences, or are employed by organizations providing the service under contract, providing an additional security service involving use of CCTV then they are required to hold the Security Industry Authority CCTV (Public Space Surveillance) Operator Licence prior to being deployed in contractual security work

- Surveillance Camera Code of Practice