The Labour government surveillance state has announced Yet Another Powerless Regulator, so that they can Pretend To Be Seen To Be Doing Something.
This time, the announced role of "Interim CCTV Regulator" is a part time one, given , without any public competition or scrutiny, to Andrew Rennison who should really be busy full time in regulating the Forensic Science Service and the various centralised biometric databases and evidence collection and analysis procedures e,.g. the National DNA Database and the IDENT1 criminal fingerprint database etc.
Interim CCTV Regulator
Written answers and statements, 15 December 2009
David Hanson (Minister of State (Crime and Policing), Home Office; Delyn, Labour)
I am today announcing the arrangements we are putting in place to take forward implementation of the national CCTV strategy and to approve an interim CCTV regulator with immediate effect.
CCTV enjoys a high level of public confidence in tackling crime.
Note the weasel words "tackling crime" - that does not mean successfully preventing or deterring crime.
Home Office research published in 2005 showed that over 80 per cent. of respondents supported the use of CCTV to deal with crime in their neighbourhood. A similar high level of confidence is reflected in the Ipsos MORI poll conducted last year and which we will be publishing shortly. CCTV played a key role in a number of investigations including the London terrorist outrages in July 2005
CCTV was a spectacular failure in preventing the terrorist suicide bomb murders and attempted murders in July 2005.
Reliance on poor quality CCTV images contributed to the mis-identification and shooting to death by the Police, of the innocent Jean Charles de Menezes. The failures of CCTV on the heavily surveilled London Transport Buses and Tube stations and Tube trains, gave the impression of a coverup by the state
and the Steven Wright murders in Ipswich as well as offences such as burglaries, robberies, violence and antisocial behaviour across the country. The changes are aimed at ensuring that those involved across the CCTV industry, whether from the public or the private sector, can be actively involved in the development and implementation of national standards on the installation and use of CCTV. Importantly, it also aims to maximise public engagement by raising public awareness of the benefits of CCTV and accountability of owners and users of CCTV systems.
We might believe that, if some CCTV systems were actually removed after they have been proven to be ineffective in reducing or preventing crime, or which constitute a disproportionate invasion of people's privacy or security in a particular location.
It is important that we retain and build on that high level of public confidence by demonstrating the important contribution to preventing and detecting crime and antisocial behaviour which CCTV can make.
Does that mean even more expensive, stupid, counterproductive propaganda, like the controversial, and heavily satirised Metropolitan Police terrorism fear Propaganda Poster lies about bombs, reconnaissance and CCTV cameras - updated 25th March 2009 ?
We have already announced in Building Britain's Future that we will make sure that local people have a say on the use of CCTV in their area and will be publishing guidance for crime and disorder reduction partnerships next year on communicating with their community on the role of CCTV in public protection.
Building Britain's Future is the failed Labour Government propaganda campaign, paid for by the taxpayer, launched in June 2009. Can you remember a single initiative or promise it made, without following the web link ?
It is also important that we address public concern about how CCTV is used. I am, therefore, pleased to announce the appointment of the Forensic Science Regulator, Andrew Rennison, as the interim CCTV regulator with immediate effect. The interim CCTV regulator will advise the Government on matters surrounding the use of CCTV in public places, including the need for a regulatory framework overseen by a permanent CCTV regulator, which enables the police, local authorities and other agencies to help deliver safer neighbourhoods while ensuring that personal privacy considerations are appropriately taken into account with supporting safeguards and protections. The establishment of a permanent CCTV regulator would rightly be a matter for Parliament. That is why we are, at this stage, considering the regulatory arrangements function through an interim appointment and the revised governance structure for implementation of the national CCTV strategy.
The interim appointment will be for a period of up to 12 months. The appointment is an important step in implementation of the national CCTV strategy. The interim regulator will work with the national CCTV strategy board on six key areas. These are to:
- develop national standards for the installation and use of CCTV in public space;
- determine training requirements for users and practitioners;
- engage with the public and private sector in determining the need for and potential content of any regulatory framework;
- raise public awareness and understanding of how CCTV operates and how it contributes to tackling crime and increasing public protection;
- review the existing recommendations of the national CCTV strategy and advise the strategy board on implementation, timelines and cost and development of an effective evidence base;
- and promote public awareness of the complaints process and criteria for complaints to the relevant agencies ( for example, Information Commissioner, local authority or private organisation) or how to deal with complaints relating to technical standards.
The appointment of the Forensic Science Regulator will bring to his CCTV role the expertise, knowledge, and standing he has gained in operating a suitable framework for forensic services.
The role of the Forensic Science Regulator does not involve dealing directly with complaints from the public, or censuring and punishing failures in various government and private sector forensic science laboratories and police forces etc. either., only in setting overall standards.
He will play a leading role in identifying and helping meet the needs of both users and the public.
While the interim CCTV regulator will not have responsibility for deciding whether individual cameras are appropriately sited or how they are used, he will be able to help explain to the public how they can complain about intrusive or ineffective CCTV placement or usage.
Therefore the CCTV "Regulator" has no power or staff or budget to investigate complaints and abuses, and no veto powers, or criminal sanctions to deploy against CCTV abusers.
So this is not, in fact, an independent Regulator, it is more of a part time official Government propaganda role, to try to fob off any members of the public who might complain.
Part of the process of promoting greater accountability is engaging directly with key stakeholders. We will shortly be establishing an independent advisory group with representatives from business, CCTV operators, community and third sector groups to monitor and provide direction on implementing the national strategy. The advisory group will advise the interim CCTV regulator and the national CCTV strategy board.
According to the National CCTV Oversight Body announcement (.pdf)
The National CCTV Strategy Programme Board is made up of representatives from Association of Chief Police Officers, Home Office, the National Policing Improvement Agency, the Local Government Association, the Ministry of Justice, Information Commissioners Office, British Security Industry Association, Security Industry Authority, Department for Transport, Office of Security & Counter Terrorism, Crown Prosecution Service and the Home Office Scientific Development Branch. The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) is responsible for managing the delivery of the recommendations of the National CCTV Strategy.
None of these public bodies have a good record on the privacy, security or cost effectiveness of CCTV systems, have they ?
These arrangements provide for partnership working at strategic and neighbourhood level. Through these new arrangements, we intend to ensure that CCTV continues to be an important tool available to communities to help tackle crime and antisocial behaviour.
So why have these people not been properly consulted in previous years, before the massive expansion of intrusive CCTV installations was allowed to take place ?
Note that the Interim Regulator is not even tasked with producing, let alone making public, even an Interim Report, about these alleged "consultations" about CCTV, within his 12 months in office.