Posted: Wednesday, 3 July 2013 @ 10:03
Since the new licensing regime came into force in 2005 I have seen countless examples of CCTV conditions needlessly demanded on Premises Licences and Club Premises Certificates by police and environmentlal health officers. I recall one EHO declaring pub dance floors the root of all evil and demanding CCTV coverage. All too often these demands were accepted by licensing committees, or reluctantly agreed by applicants as a price to pay for a smooth and cheaper ride to the grant of a Licence.
But now common sense is beginning to take hold. Needless red tape is of course costly to pub businesses, and CCTV sytems particulary expensive to install and maintain, with the ever present risk of breach of conditions.
There is now in the pipeline a new Code of Practice issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government. There are 12 guiding principles in the Code.
Principle 1 put simply requires licensing authorities to consider carefully whether a CCTV system is for a specified purpose in pursuit of a legitimate aim and necessary to meet an identified pressing need. In other words think very carefully before imposing blanket conditions.
Principle 2 states that a CCTV system must take into account its effect on individulas and their privacy, with regular reviews to ensure its use remains justified. A 12 month review is suggested. So there is a positive duty on the licence holder to consider whether CCTV remains necessary, and whether the specific conditions endorsed on the licence remain necessary. If not an application for variation of the Premises Licence should be made to remove or amend the condition.
Principle 3 states that there must be transparency on the use of CCTV in the premises including a published contact point for access to information and complaints.
The remaining principles cover the CCTV system itself, it use, training, storage and access to images, security, review and audits.
I strongly advise anyone applying for a premises licence or who has an existing licence where they have a CCTV system, whether subject to conditions or not, to read the Code of Practice and take oin board its requirements.
Licensing Law Specialist
Tel: 0845 003 5639
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