Advice and Guidance for Control Room Staff and Police Officers in respect of CCTV and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 came into force on 2nd October 2000. It relates to surveillance by the Police and other agencies and deals in part with the use of directed covert surveillance. Section 26 of this act sets out what is Directed Surveillance. It defines this type of surveillance as:-
Subject to subsection (6), surveillance is directed for the purposes of this Part if it is covert but not intrusive and is undertaken-
(a) for the purposes of a specific investigation or a specific operation;
(b) in such a manner as is likely to result in the obtaining of private information about a person (whether or not one specifically identified for the purposes of the investigation or operation); and
(c) otherwise than by way of an immediate response to events or circumstances the nature of which is such that it would not be reasonably practicable for an authorisation under this Part to be sought for the carrying out of the surveillance.
There might be cause to monitor for some time, a person or premises using CCTV. In most cases this will be an immediate response to events or circumstances and would not require authorisation unless it were to continue for some hours rather than minutes.
In cases where a pre-planned incident or operation wishes to make use of CCTV for monitoring a specific investigation or operation, an authority will almost certainly be required, including, if applicable, slow time requests.
The forms must indicate the reason and should fall within one of the categories of Section 28 (3) as follows:-
An authorisation is required on grounds falling within this subsection if it is necessary-
(a) in the interests of national security;
(b) for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime or of preventing disorder;
(c) in the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom;
(d) in the interests of public safety;
(e) for the purpose of protecting public health;
(f) for the purpose of assessing or collecting any tax, duty, levy or other imposition, contribution or charge payable to a government department; or
(g) for any purpose (not falling within paragraphs (a) to (f)) which is specified for the purposes of this subsection by an order made by the Secretary of State.
In cases where there is doubt as to whether authorisation is required or not, it may be prudent to obtain the necessary authority. Any authority given must be recorded
Forms should be available at any CCTV Monitoring Room and are included in the Procedure Manual and available from the CCTV User Group website.
An example of a request requiring authorisation might be where a car is found in a car park late at night and known to belong to drug dealers. The officers might task CCTV to watch the vehicle over a period of time to note who goes to and from the vehicle.
Where officers wish to have a shop monitored from the outside, which is suspected of dealing in stolen goods over a period of days.
Where officers come across a local drug dealer sitting in the town centre/street and wish to have the cameras monitor them, so as not to divulge the observation taking place.