AN Onchan MHK has lodged a formal complaint with the Data Protection Supervisor after CCTV cameras appeared by the new high school at Bemahague – and then just as suddenly vanished.
David Quirk says he was contacted by concerned constituents after the cameras appeared on either side of the Heywood Drive junction on Hillberry Road, with one overlooking a bus stop and the second fixed to a lamp post.
They were only in place for about four days until they were removed at the weekend (March 9 amd 10).
Mr Quirk said he is concerned that there were no signs erected advising what use the cameras were being put to.
‘If someone puts up a camera people want to know who has put it up and why. I’ve had complaints from residents who are obviously concerned to know why they want to record people standing at a bus stop or children going into school.’
Director of highways Richard Pearson subsequently confirmed that the cameras are used for traffic counting. In his email to Mr Quirk he said: ‘They are used to count the number of vehicles passing through the area. This traffic flow information is then used for checking that the signal timings are optimal. This information is not used for any other purposes.’
The Office of the Data Protection Supervisor has clear guidance on the installation of CCTV cameras.
It states that people must be told that they are in an area where CCTV surveillance is being carried out - and the most effective way of doing this is by placing clear and prominent signs at the entrance to the CCTV zone. As well being clearly visible and readable, the signs should contain details of the organisation operating the system, the purpose for using CCTV, and who to contact about the scheme.
Mr Quirk said he has made an subject access request to establish exactly what has been filmed on the cameras.