Honiton CCTV an ‘effective tool’

But proper procedures must be followed.

Following the Midweek Herald’s story last week, in which Honiton businesswoman Mandy Newman raised a concern that the law apparently prevented a victim of crime from viewing town centre CCTV footage in order to identify a suspect, we would like to make the following points clear.

The Herald has been made aware that rules outlined under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 set out detailed procedures for the identification of suspects. If these are not followed, then evidence can be excluded from use in court.

Honiton’s CCTV system is operated by the town council.

A joint statement, issued by the council and Sergeant Martin Burrow, said: “The use of the CCTV system is controlled by a town council policy, which is a public document and which relates to national regulations.

“Within this policy is the facility for members of the public to request access to the CCTV and information can be released for legitimate purposes to the public.

“All requests are considered carefully by the town clerk taking advice from Devon and Cornwall Police as necessary and in line with Government guidance; such access is only allowed if there is lawful, proper and sufficient reason – this is to ensure that the rights to privacy of other people who may be in the town are not infringed.

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“On the occasion referred to in the article, no such application has been received by the town council.

“The town council, together with Devon and Cornwall Police, is very aware of the need to comply with the stringent national rules which apply to CCTV; it exists as a very effective and useful tool alongside other facilities, such as the Police National Computer system.

“The CCTV system in Honiton has been used on many occasions to make significant contributions towards convictions for crimes ranging from thefts to assaults.”