The NSW Police Force supports programs that aim to reduce or prevent crime. It is recognised that CCTV can be an effective crime prevention program when it is part of a broader crime prevention and community safety strategy.
The NSW Police Force endorses the "NSW Government Policy Statement and Guidelines for the Establishment and Implementation of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) in Public Places". The Government Guidelines are the basis from which to consider the development, management and operation of a CCTV program.
The NSWPF will:
- Contribute to the assessment and planning phases, including initial research, risk analysis, setting objectives, camera placement and operational issues in a Program;
- Through Local Area Command, determine the level of response to incidents identified by CCTV, according to available resources and existing priorities;
- Contribute to the development of comprehensive Codes of Practice, Protocols and Police Standing Operating Procedures that clearly set out the operational aspects for a CCTV Program in a local area and are consistent with the Govt Guidelines. This would include practice principles encompassing, but not limited to;
- nature and level of involvement of the Police in management and operation of the CCTV Program;
- roles and responsibilities of all agencies involved;
- communication methods between police and the scheme owner/ managers;
- the scope of police response to reported incidents, routine and urgent, including early identification of potential incidents to facilitate timely police responses.
Inclusions for a Code of Practice are found in the Government Guidelines at section 19, page 23. Appendix 2 contains an example of SOPS, found on page 29. The City of Sydney Code of Practice and SOPS may serve as suitable models.
- Contribute to training programs for police and owner/ managers' staff in CCTV operations;
- Participate in the monitoring and evaluation of the program.
The NSWPF will NOT:
- Fund nor operate CCTV equipment;
- Routinely monitor CCTV cameras. The Police role is to respond to incidents identified by control room operators. Monitor- control for specific incidents can be transferred to police in emergency situations, to assess incidents and determine appropriate response.
- Be involved in a scheme that does not comply with the Government Guidelines.
The nine principles of the 'NSW Government Policy Statement and Guidelines for the Establishment and Implementation of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) in Public Places' address issues relating to privacy, fairness, public confidence and support, managerial efficiency and effectiveness, and police involvement in public area CCTV. All the principles are linked to the common elements which should constitute public policy on public area CCTV schemes.
These principles and policy elements should not inhibit the design of schemes to meet local needs and circumstances. Indeed, they actively encourage adaptation to particular neighbourhoods and communities. These principles assume that there are certain values that require universal consideration. Whenever any of these are not complied with, then public justification for such exceptions should be made.
The Ownership of Schemes and Its Accompanying Responsibilities
The ownership of public area CCTV schemes must be clear and publicly known and ensure appropriate public accountability.
When considering setting up or significantly expanding a public area CCTV scheme, the relevant concerns of all parties potentially affected by the scheme should be taken into account through an effective community consultation strategy. Consultation will help to ensure that schemes meet local needs and circumstances, and that the operation of the scheme has the support of those affected by it.
Setting Clear Objectives
Clear scheme objectives should be set to guide the design, implementation management and outcomes of public area CCTV. A clear statement of objectives will provide a basis for effective monitoring and evaluation of the scheme and help to ensure that the use of CCTV is consistent with overall crime prevention objectives.
Integrated Approaches to Crime Prevention
The implementation of CCTV should be part of an integrated, multi- agency approach to crime control and community safety.
Police Involvement in Public Area CCTV Schemes
While the NSWPS should not fund or operate public area CCTV schemes, it should be closely involved in the assessment and planning phase, including risk analysis and evaluation. The SOPs for the scheme should incorporate protocols covering communication and liaison between the scheme operators and the police.
Managing and Operating Schemes
Schemes should be open and accountable and operate with due regard for the privacy and civil rights of individuals and the community.
The NSW Government Guidelines are also available on the Internet at www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/cpd - Publications.
Effective evaluation of schemes is essential in order to identify whether their formal objectives are being achieved. Evaluation frameworks should be developed at the planning stage of the scheme.
Publicly accountable, impartial and fair schemes should have procedures for dealing with complaints.
Monitoring and Auditing
Audit is needed to provide an account of the operation by testing its compliance against relevant legislation and procedures and to be used as the basis of recommendation for improved practice.
These principles (page 4 of the Government Guidelines) are reproduced here in summary only and should be read in conjunction with the entire document.