New standard for Police body cams backed by industry

BSI, the business standards company, has launched a new standard for Body Worn Video (BWV), the cameras now widely adopted by councils and police across the UK. In October 2016 the world’s largest scale roll out of such cameras was announced by London’s Metropolitan Police.

In response to concerns over data security and privacy, the new standard, BS 8593: 2017 Code of practice for the deployment and use of Body Worn Video (BWV) has been developed in conjunction with security and privacy groups – including the Home Office, the Metropolitan Police, and Big Brother Watch.

The standard delivers a common framework to boost public trust in understanding of where and when BWV can be used. The voluntary standard provides technical and operational recommendations for the appropriate and proportionate deployment and use of Body Worn Video.

The standard was drawn up to address a gap in guidance due to the differences between the use of CCTV and BWV, and to avoid a repeat of the privacy concerns associated with the widespread roll out of CCTV. The UK is widely believed to be the most surveilled state in the world. BS 8593 covers planning and operational recommendations, outlining the need for BWV deployment to be based on legitimate reasons, particularly in terms of undertaking a Privacy Impact Assessment.

Anne Hayes, Head of Market Development for Governance and Resilience at BSI, said: “During the development of BS 8593 it was agreed that public confidence in the operation and management of BWV was critical, with balancing safety, security and privacy matters a central concern. The involvement of both security and privacy groups shows that standards can deliver industry consensus by aligning agendas to the public benefit.

“BWV has an advantage as a security device in terms of providing the user with a sense of protection; a second pair of eyes and ears should something go wrong.”

Tony Porter, Surveillance Camera Commissioner, said: “I am delighted to support the new British Standard and acknowledge the excellent work which has been undertaken by those to deliver it in such short timescales. As the use of body worn cameras proliferate they become more and more engrained as an intrusive capability in the daily lives of citizens. The important and fundamental balance of preserving the rights of citizens whilst keeping our communities safe and secure, are at the heart of the Home Secretary’s Surveillance Camera Code of Practice which I regulate, the principles within that Code are at the heart of the new standard, and I commend its introduction.”

Examples of legitimate deployment of BWV can include: 

-       Safeguarding employee safety and security – where a user of Body Worn Video may be at risk of physical or verbal attack, or working in a hazardous environment

-       As a deterrent – if the device wearer is involved in policing or controlling an environment which people could try to disrupt

-       Evidence capture – if the BWV user is involved in a role where they might witness or investigate criminal activity, and capturing visual or audio evidence could assist with future legal proceedings

-       Promoting transparency – where a device wearer regularly encounters complaints, such as bailiffs or parking wardens

-       Capturing data to use in process improvement or training – such as identifying learning opportunities

Device recommendations – such as functionality, weight, image quality and encryption – are covered in the standard. A separate clause covers data management and security including data integrity, audit trails, storage and sharing redaction.

Training for the device wearers, data handlers, and general operator guidance, is provided in the standard, along with a dedicated clause covering monitoring, escalation and response as agreed with the system owners.

The standard is applicable to BWV users and system owners, as well as suppliers and procurers.  Examples of where BWV systems might be used include emergency services, taxi marshalling, warden schemes, security guarding, parking enforcement and door supervision.

The following organizations were involved in the development of BS 8593: Association of Security Consultants; Big Brother Watch; British Security Industry Association; Home Office; Information Commissioner’s Office; Metropolitan Police; National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC); National Security Inspectorate; Security Industry Authority; Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB); Transport for London. In an individual capacity: IndigoVision; Edisix Ltd; SoloProtect Ltd.

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