The Operations Manager presented the report to the Committee. He said that the partnership continued to look to improve standards across the whole partnership and was looking at alternative ways of working to help alleviate budgets. He informed Members that the partnership had four RIPA requests from the police and had no data breaches.
The Operations Manager said that the team had trialled downloading CCTV footage via a link which was successful but were now waiting for the police to provide the team with the relevant protocols to launch the service. He explained that currently, police must attend the Control Room to download footage onto a disc.
The Operations Manager further reported that the number of mobile cameras across the partnership was increasing and Hertsmere had recently purchased five cameras. He updated Members on the ShopWatch and PubWatch radio link which was now digitalised and working well in seven towns that were monitored. There were 250 radio users which helped with continuity within those towns and was something the partnership would like to expand.
The Operations Manager invited all Members of the Committee to the Control Room to see how it operates.
Councillor Curtis referred to Appendix A of the report which stated that there were no proposed changes to the Code of Conduct. He asked the Operations Manager if he was confident that the operations in the CCTV service were as good as they could be.
The Operations Manager said there were no major amendments to the Code except the change in the reporting system that the Control Room use.
Councillor Newmark thanked the Officer for the informative report. He asked if the Officers could explain more about the protocols that they were waiting on from the police in order to move to a cloud based file sharing system. He said that he recalled it being an issue 18 months ago and the Constabulary regularly reported to the Hertsmere Scrutiny Committee about their frustrations at not being able to download footage easily. He asked when the issue would be sorted.
The Control Room Manager said that the service had proven that they can upload footage to a secure server but the server needed to be provided by the police alongside any protocol for sending the correct links to load to a secure file system. He said the system needed to conform to the relevant GDPR protocols and enquiries had been made but he had not received any response to date.
The Operations Manager added that the review was now with a Sergeant who was looking at resourcing a full time member of staff to the downloading suite. There was currently only one part time member of staff manning the suite who carries out all the downloading of footage for the whole of the Hertfordshire Police Service. It was a police issue but one that the team were trying to move forward.
Councillor Boylan asked if the issue could be escalated to ensure it was resolved quickly.
The Operations Manager confirmed that the team were in dialogue with the individual officer at the police responsible for the system.
Councillor Newmark asked for clarification on what the GDPR issues were. He said that if the CCTV partnership had footage that could aid police with their criminal investigation then it seemed frustrating that there was not an option to download it remotely.
The Control Room Manager explained that all CCTV footage had to be accounted for. In a criminal investigation, it must be proven in a Court of Law that it had been downloaded from a secure system. It is a requirement to account for how much footage was downloaded, the time and date and the reason for obtaining the footage. This was achieved by writing an incident log when the footage was downloaded otherwise it could be thrown out in Court. He said that the concept had been proved with the road policing department but need to have it implemented across the whole constabulary.
Councillor Clark said that the police needed to prove a chain of evidence in order to prosecute. He referred to the replacement cameras mentioned in the report and asked if they would be Regulation 10 cameras that could be used for parking enforcement.
The Operations Manager said he would give a written response to the question about the new cameras.
Councillor Clark said that he had raised it previously and referred to Transport for London who uses their cameras for issuing penalty notices.
The Control Room Manager explained that Officers had to have a specific licence to enforce parking penalties.
Councillor Curtis said that he was pleased to see the service were planning to recruit more Independent Inspectors and asked if the Officers could remind the Committee as to what their role is.
The Operations Manager explained that the Independent Inspectors were volunteers that come into the Control Room to watch random CCTV footage to check what the operator has recorded and check it was appropriate for the scenario. The Inspectors complete a report and submit it to show what footage they have watched and what they have seen. The service was suspended over the lockdown periods but it was now continuing.
Councillor Curtis said he understood that the age group of the Inspectors meant they would have been unable to carry out the role during the lockdowns but was disappointed the service was suspended as the oversight was important.
Councillor Clark asked for clarification on the position of the inspectors and what the cost was.
The Operations Manager said the Inspectors were volunteers with a full DBS check. A donation of £10 is given to a local charity for their time.
The Committee noted the report.