Greg Mulholland – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Home Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Greg Mulholland on 2015-10-19.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what access foreign security services have in the UK to CCTV cameras with facial recognition and biometric tracking capabilities.

Mike Penning

I have received no representations about the use of CCTV cameras with facial recognition and biometric tracking capabilities.

The use of any CCTV system operating in a public place in England and Wales (whether or not any facial recognition or biometric tracking technology is being used) is subject to the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice, issued as guidance under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The police, as a relevant authority, are duty bound to have regard to the Code when performing their functions. Any use of such technology for covert investigative purposes by a public authority would be subject to the requirements of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and its related Code of Practice. Further, the use and disclosure of personal data, such as CCTV images, is generally governed by the Data Protection Act 1998.

Information on the fields of data which any CCTV system operator may use to identify individuals of interest is not held centrally. Further, any person (including those not suspected of an offence) may make a subject access request to a police force in respect of personal information which is held about them (including CCTV images). In broad terms, pursuant to the Code of Practice on the Management of Police Information (MOPI) and accompanying guidance published by the College of Policing, this should trigger a review of whether or not to delete such material based on an assessment of danger to the public and its value for policing purposes.

It is the longstanding policy of successive Governments not to comment on intelligence matters.