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Mobile CCTV cameras

What is CCTV?

CCTV stands for Closed Circuit Television. CCTV is the term used when cameras are used to capture images. These images are relayed back to a CCTV control room where they are monitored and recorded. Most of our cameras can be controlled and are known as PTZs (P for pan left or right, T for tilt up and down, and Z for zoom in and out). This lets operators control cameras and monitor incidents throughout our network of cameras.

We use mobile CCTV cameras at certain times of year, or in some of our parks and open spaces when there is an increased risk of antisocial behaviour.

What are mobile CCTV cameras?

We have a number of mobile CCTV cameras. These are used to tackle local issues and a special project team decides where they are used. They are usually used for a short time and allow CCTV operators to monitor areas and liaise with partner agencies to assist in tackling problems such as antisocial behaviour.

The objectives of mobile CCTV are to:

  • prevent and detect street crime
  • deter public disorder and antisocial behaviour
  • help apprehend and prosecute offenders in relation to crime and public disorder
  • help police major events, festivals or incidents
  • improve the feeling of safety.

I've heard some of the CCTV cameras are dummies - is that true?

We do not use dummy CCTV cameras. All of our mobile cameras will record images that can be viewed by a CCTV controller.

Is the footage stored on video cassette?

All of our system is digitally recorded. This recording and storage medium means that operators can instantly review a camera to see what has happened if an incident has just occurred. This has meant a saving in both time and money.

How long are recordings kept for?

Images are kept for 31 days in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, unless they are required for evidence purposes by PSNI or other law enforcement agencies. After 31 days they are automatically erased.

How are the police notified of an incident?

CCTV operators inform the PSNI directly. Operators are able to pass on incident details when they see something happening. PSNI control room talks to CCTV operators if they receive information, for example from members of the public who have seen or are witnessing an incident. If the location of an incident is seen from any of our cameras, the CCTV operators will speak directly with police officers who are attending the incident. CCTV operators will advise and update the police of the current situation during an incident and who is involved. This lets the police make informed decisions about what has happened.

Can CCTV reduce crime?

CCTV plays an important role in helping to reduce crime, either as an evidence-gathering tool, or as a deterrent to would-be offenders. CCTV operators carry out camera patrols or randomly monitor cameras, enabling them to observe locations and detect crime.

Who watches the cameras and how often?

The images recorded by our mobile CCTV cameras may be monitored live or at specified times by CCTV operators who are all authorised by us.

Are staff trained to work the CCTV cameras?

The CCTV operators and immediate supervisors have all received training. Details of the CCTV operators are kept by our Legal Services Department.

How do I get access to CCTV images?

CCTV images of individuals can be applied for by those individuals only under principles of the Data Protection Act 1998. Access to your own personal information (footage of yourself and no other personal data of anyone else) can be released when you make a Subject Data Access request. This request form has strict criteria around the release of data, so that we do not release your personal data to others. The PSNI and other law enforcement agencies use other laws such as the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and data exchange agreements to access our footage. This means that we can hand over our footage where individuals can be identified, but only if it's needed for investigation purposes.

How do you guarantee my privacy?

The images recorded by the re-deployable CCTV cameras are securely stored and images can only be viewed via controlled access. Only authorised personnel can view images under controlled conditions. We do not allow open access to unauthorised personnel or the general public.

There is a camera near my house – can it see in?

Where feasible, electronic privacy masking is used to obliterate the digital image around residential property. The Data Protection Act ensures that an individual can only apply for their own personal data or images of themselves, although there are strict criteria for this. This also stops other people applying for your data or images of you. You can make a Subject Data Access request for your own personal data if you wish. There may be a charge for this and if the footage is available, you are only entitled to see your own image.

Who do I contact if I have a complaint?

If you have a complaint, please contact us on 028 9032 0202 or email complaints@belfastcity.gov.uk  


Contact us
Parks and Leisure Department
028 9091 8767