The City of White Rock is developing a policy to govern its use of video-surveillance equipment on civic properties and facilities.
Council members meeting as the governance and legislation committee are to discuss a draft of Policy IT 800 this evening at city hall, prior to the regular council meeting.
The move, officials say, does not mean closed-circuit television cameras are in the works for the city’s promenade – a proposal that sparked criticism over privacy rights.
“It’s nothing to do with CCTV cameras on the waterfront or on the pier or anything like that,” said Coun. Helen Fathers, after clarifying details of the proposed policy with the city manager. “It’s just to make sure that what we are doing, we have policy to back it up.”
(Fathers was the only councillor to speak against consideration of CCTV cameras for the waterfront, when the issue came to council in June 2012. It has not been pursued since a staff report concluded use of the cameras for the waterfront was not justified.)
According to the draft, Policy IT 800 establishes guidelines for the use of video surveillance/recording equipment “to enhance the security of properties, objects and activities and the personal safety of persons that are in, on or near facilities owned or occupied by the City of White Rock.”
The recordings would also assist with the investigation of unlawful activity, but “will not be located in areas that would constitute an invasion of privacy,” the draft states.
It mandates that signage advising of the equipment be posted; as well, that authorized personnel only access the equipment or retrieve images “as reasonably necessary.”
Currently, the city has surveillance cameras at its Keil Street works yard, in the lobby of White Rock Community Centre and in city hall where council members collect mail.
Fathers said care must be taken to ensure the collection and review of the footage is done properly.
“We have to be careful, that when staff are reviewing it, they are reviewing it under the right circumstances.”