Public space surveillance (CCTV) in Hackney
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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 1,674 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.
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.
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.
As part of the initiative to reduce crime, the fear of crime and antisocial behaviour, we operate a PSS camera system on many of our housing estates. We started modernising and refurbishing estate systems in 2019.
Most of the cameras on estates are fixed and their images are kept for 28 days, before they’re automatically overwritten. The operators, based in our 24 hour control centre, monitor and patrol these cameras regularly and have direct links to the police including radio communication, which allows for real time images to be shared to help respond to live incidents. Additionally 13 concierges will have images displayed on site to assist in their duties on the relevant estate. All our operators are SIA licensed and fully trained. Only authorised staff and police can view the CCTV images.
If there are CCTV cameras near you that you think might be useful to stop antisocial behaviour you can also contact us at our control centre.
You can also contact us if you live on a Hackney housing estate and the police are unable to fully investigate an incident on your estate where CCTV images are involved – we can provide additional resources to assist in investigations. You will need to provide the crime reference number and full details of the incident.
If you think one of our cameras is faulty or has been vandalised, please email email@example.com with the camera number, estate block and details of the fault and, if possible, a photograph; the team will ensure that this is checked. You can find details of reported camera faults in our monthly statistics.
As a result of joint Council and police operations during September 2021, 1,587 incidents were logged, of which 853 were initiated by our PSS operators.
In the last year we’ve received three complaint about PSS cameras, and 5 letters of thanks were received from partners and the public.
Public space surveillance cameras are located in these areas:
- De Beauvoir
- Hackney Central
- Hackney Downs
- Kings Park
- New River
- Stoke Newington Central
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.
- privacy impact assessments for public area surveillance cameras
- public space surveillance cameras policy
- body worn camera equipment (BWCE) policy and privacy impact assessment
- vehicle borne camera equipment policy
- code of practice
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 firstname.lastname@example.org giving:
- Solicitor’s / insurer’s name and address, sent from a company email account.
- The name of the client.
- Time, date and place of the incident.
- Vehicle details (vehicle registration mark [VRM], make, model, colour) of all vehicles involved.
- Description of incident.
- Any police reference such as an incident number.
We’ll respond by telling applicants if there are cameras that may have caught the incident and we’ll give you an evidence request form number (ERF). 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 quoting the ERF number, and send a BACS payment for £33 (including VAT), so we can search for footage.
If there’s footage
We’ll invite your solicitor or insurer to send a BACS payment for £132 (including VAT). The ERF number must be used as a reference 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 email@example.com or call 020 8356 2333 to discuss your request.
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.
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.
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 track movement to obtain better images.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or for general enquires, email@example.com.
Civil Protection Service
- The Civil Protection control centre is operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week