12.2 Body Worn Cameras (BWCs)

A body worn camera (BWC) is a device worn by a user that incorporates a camera, microphone and other software/hardware to enable the visual and audio recording, storage and subsequent exporting of its data for the specified deployment. 

BWCs may be of a type specific to security applications or activity cameras such as ‘GoPro’. 

The following paragraph and points 12.2.1 to 12.2.6d have been taken from BS8593:2017. The deployment of BWC should be based on legitimate reasons where personal data needs to be recorded. When deciding whether deployment is applicable or not, a privacy impact assessment (PIA) should be undertaken; possible examples of reasons are listed below:-

12.2.1 Employee safety/security – for example, if a risk assessment has been conducted and the user might encounter a specific risk from interfacing with people (physical attack or verbal abuse) or environmental factors (working in hazardous environments or where task-related risks might be present). 

12.2.2 Deterrent – for example, if the user is engaged in a job role where they might be policing or controlling a given environment/task which other people could choose to try and disrupt. 

12.2.3 Evidence capture – for example, if the user is involved in a role where they might witness or investigate criminal activity and capturing visual or audio evidence could help with the process of engagement with police, or be used as evidence in legal proceedings (including possible civil action). 

12.2.4 Transparency – for example, where users regularly encounter complaints due to processes or interactions they undertake (policing, bailiffs, parking services). 

12.2.5 Environment monitoring – for example, using video to record changing environmental factors or share visual knowledge of an environment with others not present. 

12.2.6 Capturing data to use in process improvement or training – for example, identifying learning opportunities. The principle activity or activities to be observed should drive the need for deployment, such as the following examples. 

12.2.6a Robbery/theft – for example, staff deployed in environments where the risk of robbery is present (retail, environments susceptible to metal theft, cash in transit). 

12.2.6b Verbal or physical abuse – for example, staff who have to deal with members of the public or recipients of services provided by the system owner and where discontent can occur. 

12.2.6c Incapacitation – for example, where staff are involved in job tasks which might be dangerous or carry hazard. In the event of incapacitation, video could be used to determine the nature of the incident and any environmental factors involved. 

12.2.6d Public safety – for example, where the user is operating in a wider environment where risk to the public might exist (crowd dynamic situations at large gatherings or security personnel operating at venues such as nightclubs, etc).

12.2.7 Right to be Informed – It would be good practice for the operator to wear a badge giving visible indication of the use of BWC as suggested in BS8593:2017 (see section 15). You could also consider adding the following to the CCTV public information signs  ‘Body Worn Cameras may be in use’. 

When using Body Worn Video/Audio Recording Devices to capture images and voice at an incident the operator should, at the commencement of the recording, announce to the subject that video and audio recording is taking place using the following or similar form of words ‘ I AM NOW RECORDING IMAGES AND ANY CONVERSATION TAKING PLACE’. 

In the case of crowd control monitoring duties for instance it would not be practical to make such an announcement and the display of an adequate BWC badge should be sufficient. The data controller’s Privacy Policy should refer to the use of BWC.

12.2.8 Subject Access Request – refer to section 8.1.

12.2.9 Consent – due to the lawful basis of this processing, consent would not be required. 

12.2.10 Archive Retention – if no action is to be taken we recommend the archive should be deleted after 30 days. If the case remains the subject of investigation the need to continue archive retention should be reviewed at monthly intervals until the case is closed. 

12.2.11 Privacy – the use of BWC should only be for justifiable and reasonable purposes previously agreed with the data controller and stated in the security service provider’s assignment instruction.

BWCs should not be used where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy unless legally justifiable. E.g. BWCs should only be used in changing rooms in the most exceptional circumstances where necessary to deal with very serious concerns. In these cases you should make extra effort to ensure those under surveillance are aware they are being recorded and that appropriate restrictions on viewing and disclosing the footage are put in place. 

12.2.12 Process – The issue and return of equipment should be recorded by the name of the person taking custody together with date and time in a dedicated log book or the Daily Occurrence Log. 

All recordings should take place at the start of a sufficiently serious incident and should continue uninterrupted until the incident has concluded. However, this is subject to the individual having a reasonable expectation of privacy. If the location of the recording changes during the course of an incident (e.g. a suspect is followed into public toilets) then it may be appropriate to stop the BWC recording at that point. Changing to audio-only recording, if that is an available feature, may be an acceptable compromise. 

Recordings should not be made of general duties, unless specifically instructed by the data controller. 

Recordings should be transferred from the BWC to a secure PC file and held for the archive period. If no action is to be taken then we recommend that the archive should be deleted after 30 days. Should the case remain the subject of investigation the need to continue archive retention should be reviewed at monthly intervals until the case is closed. 

Recordings shall only be released upon completion of a data release log.