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CCTV in Schools

CCTV in schools is often a cause of controversy and debate.

Apparently a UK school CCTV system inadvertently recorded footage of school children getting changed, which prompted this new statement from the Information Commissioner’s Office today:

6 November 2009

CCTV in schools

Jonathan Bamford, Assistant Information Commissioner, said:

“CCTV should only be used for a pressing need. It is perfectly reasonable for a school to use CCTV to help secure its premises, but it shouldn’t be left switched on capturing images of school children changing during the day. When a school is staffed and children are on the premises, cameras will not generally be required for security purposes. Organisations that do capture images using CCTV are required by law to adhere to the Principles of the Data Protection Act. Guidance for organisations using CCTV is available from http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisations/topic_specific_guides/cctv.aspx”

Now I am sure that all statements from the ICO are carefully considered and worded so that there can be no ambiguity of meaning, but I’m not entirely sure that they meant what they seem to be saying in that middle sentence:

When a school is staffed and children are on the premises, cameras will not generally be required for security purposes.

Switch the CCTV off during the normal school day???

Comments below please …

PS – check the website of the newspaper local to the school – the Manchester Evening News – lots of comments from concerned parents …

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