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This Code of Practice is to detail the management, administration and operation of a portable Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera and recorder system to be used within the Neighbourhood Watch Village of Bricket Wood.
It has been prepared in consultation with the Bricket Wood Neighbourhood Watch Association Committee and the St Albans Police.
The Scheme will initially use a single camera and video recorder that can be installed at temporary locations as and when required. If the Scheme is successful, then additional equipment to enhance it may be considered at a later date.
A high sensitivity, low-light camera is to be employed to enable the use of available light. The use of additional lighting could draw attention to the location of the equipment, which itself then could be a target for thieves. A high resolution video monitor will be required to set-up and monitor the system. A bulk eraser will be required for fast removal of recordings from the tapes when they are no longer needed.
The camera being installed as part of the CCTV system will not be recording sound.
The following are the objectives upon which the Association has decided to introduce the CCTV system:
If the camera overlooks a public area, it will not be used to gather information on people going about their lawful business unless it is to identify possible witnesses to a crime.
The system and tapes will be owned and managed by the Bricket Wood Neighbourhood Watch Association. The members of the Association from time to time shall agree by majority voting how the scheme shall be managed. They shall elect a scheme Co-ordinator with a special role under this Code of Practice. Members leaving the scheme shall have no claim on any of the property of the Association unless the whole Commitee agree that the scheme be discontinued. Any member who infringes the Code of Practice shall be required to leave the Association. Any complaint made by a member of the public concerning misuse of the system will be treated seriously and investigated by the scheme co-ordinator. The complaint and the result of the investigation will be recorded and a meeting of the Committee convened to discuss the matter.
The information of complaints shall be made available on request to members of the Association.
The CCTV equipment will be installed and controlled by a member of the Bricket Wood Neighbourhood Watch Association in conjunction with the Hertfordshire Police.Recordings made will only be examined by people authorised by the Bricket Wood Neighbourhood Watch Association Committee and the Police. No camera will be deliberately placed so as to invade the privacy of any residents of the area.
The Code of Practice and the system should be subject to periodic review by both the Association Committee and the members; it will also include consultation with the Police, and other interested parties.
A video tape register will be maintained to record details of each tape used for the system. These will cosist of:
The purpose of the cameras is to provide surveillance of public areas, e.g. a road or footpath, or private property only with the owner's consent. Wherever possible, the cameras will be sited and configured to view the property at which it is installed and public areas. It should not overlook private dwellings or other areas where privacy may be invaded without the owner's consent.
Only S-VHS top quality tapes will be used in the video recorders to prolong the life of the video heads and provide high quality images.
Each new tape should be marked with the next available unique reference number on the edge of the cassette before use. This must then be entered in the video tape register.
The tape reference number, date and time of insertion must be entered into the system log book at the time of insertion.
Tapes which have been used for recording purpose should be stored for at least 30 days in a secure location. Tapes with recordings older than 60 days should be erased. If a tape already contains a recording then it should be erased before being reused.
Each video tape should not be used more than 12 times. It should then be erased and destroyed.
The video tapes will be used only by the Bricket Wood Neighbourhood Watch Association or handed over to the Hertfordshire Police. Video recordings will not be handed over to any other party.
If it is necessary to withdraw a tape from use, to archive it, or release it the Police, then the date and time that the tape is withdrawn from circulation must be entered in the video tape register and log book, and both signed by an authorised member of Bricket Wood Neighbourhood Watch Association. If the tape is being removed by a Police Officer then he/she must also sign the log book with both name and number.
The tape should be placed in an envelope bearing the unique tape reference number. The envelope should then be sealed and signatures written over the sealed flaps before placing clear adhesive tape over them. This will minimise the possibility of subsequent interference.
To confirm that the tape has been properly logged in at the Police Station, a reciept will be issued, as subject to the Crime Register . The Video Tape Register must then be annotated with the crime reference number against the appropriate entry, and the receipt attached.
The video tape will be electronically erased before it is use for another recording or before it is destroyed.
Any video recording made, which is not requested by the Police will be erased not more than 60 days after recording. Details of erasures will be logged in the video tape register.
After each video has been used 12 times and held for the required period, it should then be erased and destroyed.
When a tape is destroyed, its destruction should be witnessed by by two Bricket Wood Neighbourhood Watch Association members. The person destroying the tape should note its destruction in the video tape register and the witness should countersign the entry.
When the Police have reasonable cause to believe that an incident has been recorded, they may ask for permission to view the specified incident on the appropriate recording. A Police Officer will be permitted to view the recording on a monitor provided for this purpose.
If the Police request the release of a video tape, it will be withdrawn from use as detailed above.
The Bricket Wood Neighbourhood Watch Association will not be liable for any mishandling, compromise in security, or other misuse of the video tapes following handover to the Police.
For any video tape to be used as evidence in any Court action, there must be evidence of continuity of handling of the tape from the time it was first brought into use, to its production in Court as evidence.
Any tape released to the Police will be dealt with under existing Property and Exhibit Handling Procedures before leaving the premises.
The tape will be kept secure at all times thereafter and a log will be maintained by the Police, in the form of a custody record, on which will be recorded full details of the use made of the tape, the names and designations of the Police Officers handling it, and the time and location of use.
The Police will not allow recordings supplied to them to be shown for entertainment purposes but may request transmission on a television program such as 'Crimewatch' for assistance in identifying a suspect. This will require the authority of the property owners where the recording was made. It must be made clear to the owners that they will be liable for any civil court action regarding publication, slander, etc..
The video tape exhibited in Court as evidence must be the original recording. There must be no editing, by cutting, splicing or recording from other sources. However, while the original video tape is in Police possession, the Police may take working copies of the tape (including a copy of the tape for use as disclosure material to the defence). Here again, written statements will be required from the Police Officers as supporting evidence regarding copying and other handling of the tape. It must be appreciated that solicitors defending someone appearing on video tape will be entitled to a copy of the tape.
At the conclusion of the use of any original tape recording by the Police, it will be returned to the Bricket Wood Neighbourhood Watch Association unless the Court directs, in writing, that it should be destroyed instead of being handed back. The reference and date of the Court's written confirmation will be entered into the log. The tape will be kept indefinitely should its contents be in relation to a serious offence.
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Last revised: April 24, 2002