Public space surveillance (CCTV) in Hackney

There are different types of system available on land managed by the Council:

  • CCTV in or around areas we manage, such as Council housing estates
  • CCTV in public places
  • temporary or permanent CCTV

Public space surveillance (PSS) cameras:

  • dissuade crime and anti-social behaviour
  • provide evidence to help prosecute offenders
  • help the emergency services

We have several types of camera and we use them in many different ways, for example: some are solely trained on fire and security doors, others are used for reversing lorries, some measure waste heaps while others count traffic. There are also cameras that enforce traffic violations and others that are used to prevent and detect crime and antisocial behaviour. 

We have 370 cameras on highways and in other public places primarily used to help with people's safety and security, and another 1,812 cameras on housing estates and blocks. Some of these housing estate and block cameras are used to monitor people's safety and security, others to monitor public assets (such as doors) and ensure the buildings are well managed. We also have cameras in council buildings used for the same purposes.

We'll use any camera installed, if possible, for helping with people's safety and security when their property and welfare are at risk. We keep recordings for 28 days before deleting them.

Who decides where CCTV goes?

    Temporary CCTV

    Temporary CCTV is a useful tool to help the police and our teams deal with problems they expect to be resolved quickly. It's not the only option, so the team dealing with an issue might decide to use another method. The team who are dealing with the problem will usually request it following a number of complaints from the public.

    Permanent CCTV

    We install permanent CCTV in our housing estates to solve long term problems. The estate's tenants and residents association will normally be closely involved.

    We'll install permanent CCTV in other public spaces in response to long term problems that are unlikely to be solved by temporary CCTV, such as violence and drug dealing in or around nightclubs and bars, pickpocketing or moped crime near shops, or terrorist threats to particular areas. It can also be installed on routes to and from those areas, to pursue criminals after they have committed offences.

    When we're looking into installing CCTV, we use evidence from police, retailer and night time business groups, housing associations and our own services. We look at the whole borough, and prioritise the areas with the greatest need, where CCTV is likely to make the biggest difference.

    Housing associations, businesses or residents groups

    Housing associations, businesses or residents groups often want CCTV in the area they care about. If you're part of one of these groups, you can raise funding to install it - our contractors will install the CCTV and connect it to the Council's system.

    You can choose to allow us to use the cameras to respond to crime, or you can fund camera patrols using your system - this already happens with partners such as Peabody Housing, Sanctuary Housing, Southern Housing Group, Homerton University Hospital and Aviva Insurance.

    Statistics

    We logged 1,508 incidents incidents in March, and 444 were initiated by our PSS operators. In the last year we've received one complaint about PSS cameras. We've received five letters of thanks from partners and the public.

    Locations

    Public space surveillance cameras are located in these areas:

    • Brownswood
    • Cazenove
    • Chatham
    • Clissold
    • Dalston
    • De Beauvoir
    • Hackney Central
    • Hackney Downs
    • Haggerston
    • Hoxton
    • Kings Park
    • Leabridge
    • Lordship
    • New River
    • Queensbridge
    • Stoke Newington Central
    • Springfield
    • Victoria
    • Wick

    Privacy

    Some people regard surveillance cameras as an infringement of personal liberty. We believe that everyone has the right to respect for their private and family life. Our public space surveillance cameras are carefully positioned to respect people's privacy, and they don't overlook any areas where you would expect privacy. 

    Obtaining camera images to assist with civil claims

    We can provide recordings from PSS cameras for civil claims between individuals or companies. The most common requests are due to traffic collisions.

    If you need to request video images, the request should come from your insurance company or solicitor to provide assurance that the images are being used for lawful purposes, We have a legal duty to ensure images are not disclosed unlawfully under the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. 

    Requests should be made to cctv.leader@hackney.gov.uk giving:

    1. Solicitor's / insurer's name and address, sent from a company email account.
    2. The name of the client.
    3. Time, date and place of the incident.
    4. Vehicle details (vehicle registration mark [VRM], make, model, colour) of all vehicles involved.
    5. Description of incident.
    6. Any police reference such as an incident number.

    We'll respond telling applicants if there are cameras that may have caught the incident. This service is free. 

    We can also advise members of the public if there are any cameras in the area, but we will not release any footage to them. We will only release footage to their insurance company or solicitor.

    If there are cameras that might have caught the incident

    We'll invite your solicitor or insurer to make an application and send a cheque for £33 (including VAT), so we can search for footage.

    If there's footage

    We'll invite your solicitor or insurer to send a cheque for £132 (including VAT), so we can produce the footage with a statement and send it to them.

    Why we charge

    The public surveillance camera system is installed to deal with crime and disorder and the staff searching for the images for you would normally be searching for criminal activity. If you believe there's a compelling reason why we should not charge for this service in your case please email cctv.leader@hackney.gov.uk or call 020 8356 2333 to discuss your request.

    FOI requests

    Please note that we don't provide video images in response to FOI requests, as under the FOI Act (Part 2, s.21 ) we don't have a legal duty to supply them if they are available via another route. In this case they're available in accordance with our publication scheme and the payment required is specified in, or determined in accordance with the scheme.

    Subject access requests

    If you've made a subject access request application under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), please be aware it's unlikely to succeed. The chances of the Council recording any personal data in our images is extremely low, as our cameras are zoomed out to record a wide angle overview of roads. Any request made will be dealt with, but please bear in mind that the delay in dealing with the request may mean any video images are overwritten before they can be produced as evidence for applicants.

    How the cameras help reduce crime

    The government believes cameras deter 'opportunistic' crime, where people take advantage of a situation on the spur of the moment. The cameras are also creating a vastly increased rate of conviction after crimes are detected. Anyone caught committing an offence on public space surveillance cameras is likely to plead guilty, thus saving time on long and expensive trials. Incidents such as robbery, road traffic offences, theft, fly-tipping, drug-related incidents and any other antisocial behaviour or suspicious activities are often captured.

    Technology

    The system used by the Council involves a linked system of cameras with full pan, tilt and zoom controls, which can be operated remotely from our control room. The clarity of the pictures is excellent and the systems can work in pitch-black darkness, bringing images up to daylight level. Features include night vision, computer-assisted operation and motion detection facilities which can alert the operator when anything moves in view of the cameras.

    Complaints

    If you'd like to register a complaint about our public surveillance cameras, please contact the PSS manager at the address below. All complaints are dealt with in accordance with our complaints procedure.

    Speed cameras and red light cameras

    Speed cameras and red light cameras are operated by TfL (Transport for London). The Council is not responsible for them and doesn't hold any information on them.

    They're installed across London in places where people have been killed or seriously injured by people driving too fast or running red lights. The number of collisions and casualties has decreased on the roads where they've been used.

    Enquiries and freedom of information requests

    Speed cameras and red light cameras are operated by TfL and the Council doesn't hold any data about them. For freedom of information enquiries please contact TfL at foi@tfl.gov.uk or for general enquires, ccoinformation@tfl.gov.uk.

    Page updated: 10/04/2019 16:17:48