Vertical Markets

Drone compliance

by Mark Rowe

The UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner has awarded Crowded Space Drones the first private sector certificate of compliance of surveillance camera systems for the use of UAS (drone) in surveillance.

This certification has been granted following an independent audit by IQ Verify on behalf of the Commissioner. Before, this certification has only been granted to public sector bodies such as the police and NHS. Crowded Space Drones offer surveillance by drone in the UK for public safety; as featured in the October print edition of Professional Security magazine, the firm worked in August at Knavesmire, York race course, to protect the Ebor race festival in August. The firm also works for the police, Military of Defence, local government and enforcement agencies. They hold an enhanced permission from the UK regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) permitting them to fly closer to people and higher than 400ft.

Andrew McQuillan, Director of Belfast-based Crowded Space Drones, said: “When conducting any form of surveillance for public authorities, transparency of compliance is crucial to both the authority and the public. We are exceptionally proud to the be the only private sector organisation to obtain this certification as it not only gives our clients confidence that we comply with all legislation in this area, but enables public trust in our work.”

Crowded Space Drones were audited by IQ Verify in early October. This audit process is monitored by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner and takes in policies and procedures for data protection, privacy, subject access and cyber security. Previous surveillance deployments were also audited to see historic work has complied with the law and best practice procedures.

Laurence Clarke, Director of IQ Verify, added: “The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice was issued by the Secretary of State under Section 30 of the Protections of Freedoms Act to ensure that the use of cameras in public places was regulated and only used in pursuit of a specified purpose. It sets out 12 Guiding Principles which strike a balance between protecting the public and upholding civil liberties.

As some background; while the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 that brought the Surveillance Camera Commissioner into being was thought of in terms of public space CCTV, the Commissioner Tony Porter has stressed – most recently in August on the court of appeal judgment on South Wales Police’s use of automated facial recognition; and including in talks at Professional Security’s own Security TWENTY series of events – that UAS (drones) – like body-worn video, facial recognition and analytics, are examples of the developments in tech, that everyone – those in authority, whether law-makers or regulators; and end users – are having to keep up with.

Laurence Clarke said: “Of the great many private sector UAS organisations in the UK, it is exciting to see Crowded Space Drones set the quality benchmark for the industry having now achieved the very first Surveillance Camera Code of Practice Certification. We sincerely hope this marks the start of a positive change towards better standards throughout the industry.”

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