The Public Space CCTV provision in St Albans District is operated with community safety as the top priority. This means that public safety, such as finding a missing child will always take priority over providing footage of a shoplifter. The system is not routinely used for highways or parking enforcement purposes.
Types of Camera
Currently the Council operates cameras at 99 locations around the District. These cameras consist of systems that are connected to our CCTV control room and systems that record to site only.
Cameras that are monitored by the Council's CCTV control room allow live monitoring every day throughout the year. Footage from these cameras is retained for up to 28 days.
The "record on site" cameras are not connected to the CCTV control room; instead they record to a hard drive that is located with the cameras, with footage obtained manually. Footage from these cameras is retained for up to 14 days.
The Council also has 3 re-deployable CCTV systems that are temporarily deployed in areas that are hotspots for anti social behaviour and crime. The decision as to where these cameras used is made in conjunction with the Police.
Access to Footage
Access to CCTV footage is governed by the Data Protection Act 1998. An individual is entitled to view footage of themselves only; this is known as a Subject Access Request. This does not allow an individual to obtain footage of another person. Please note that CCTV footage of an individual is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act provisions. The Council will charge £10 to assist with the cost of providing footage, which will be made available within 40 days.
If you wish to make a Subject Access Request, please contact the Community Protection Team on 01727 819538. In order to process this request we will need as much information as possible, including the date, time and description of the incident. Please note that we will also require proof of identification in all cases to prevent this provision from being misused.
In the unfortunate circumstance that you are the victim of crime, any possible CCTV footage will be provided to the Police Officer investigating the case. It is not possible for you to view yourself or for us to view to view the footage just to see if any incident has been captured.
If you have had a Road Traffic Collision, your insurance company will need to contact the Council to obtain footage of the incident. The Council charges £100 to insurance companies to assist with the cost of downloading and producing this footage. Footage will not be viewed or downloaded until this fee is paid. As above, it is not possible for you to view footage or for us to view footage just to see if an incident has been captured.
In both the above cases we are happy to confirm (on telephone number 01727 819538) if a camera is in the vicinity. However, the incident should be reported to the Police or insurance company immediately to ensure that the footage is requested within the timescales for retention, as detailed above.
The Council has produced an Annual Report covering CCTV activity and developments during 2015-16.
CCTV Code of Practice
This Code of Practice applies to all public space cameras operated and managed by St Albans City & District Council. The priority objective of the system is to protect and increase community safety via the creation of a safe public environment for those residing and visiting the District.
The Code of Practice can be accessed below.