Body-warn video: standard operating procedure

About the procedure

Adopted July 2018, to be reviewed August 2023


This document sets out Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council’s policy for the use of body-worn video (BWV) and aims to provide clear information on the use of such systems when used by officers of the council.

The use of BWV has increased across local authorities. BWV can now form an essential part of an officer’s personal protective equipment and when provided, is used for health and safety, crime prevention and evidence gathering.


Officers undertaking front-line enforcement duties such as investigating suspected criminal acts are vulnerable to abuse and threatening behaviour, both verbal and physical, from members of the public. BWV can promote public reassurance, capture evidence, modify behaviour, prevent acts of aggression, and verbal and physical abuse towards council officers and can deter people from committing crime and anti-social behaviour.

Similarly, when receiving complaints about the behaviour of our officers, it can be challenging to identify the exact nature of an incident as it is often the word of one person against another. This may potentially expose our staff to false accusations that can be hard to counter and makes it difficult to identify where staff may have acted inappropriately. Video and audio recording of an incident is invaluable in helping us identify and deal with such issues when required.

Where a crime has taken place, recordings may provide independent evidence to improve the quality of prosecution cases and reduce the reliance on victim-based evidence; this may be beneficial to those who are vulnerable or reluctant to attend court.

Privacy statement

The council considers that body-worn videos (BWV) are justified but must be carefully controlled and managed so that their uses are not exceeded.

The council will not operate covert BWVs. Individuals will be alerted to the operation of all overt surveillance cameras through highly visible signage. The cameras themselves will not be hidden but located in public view at all times.

The Information Commissioner’s Office advice ‘Conducting Privacy Impact Assessments Code of Practice’ describes privacy in the following way:

Privacy, in its broadest sense, is about the right of an individual to be left alone. It can take two main forms, and these can be subject to different types of intrusion:

  • Physical privacy: the ability of a person to maintain their own physical space or solitude. Intrusion can come in the form of unwelcome searches of a person’s home or personal possessions, bodily searches or other interference, acts of surveillance and the taking of biometric information
  • Informational privacy: the ability of a person to control, edit, manage and delete information about themselves and to decide how and to what extent such information is communicated to others. Intrusion can come in the form of collection of excessive personal information, disclosure of personal information without consent and misuse of such information. It can include the collection of information through the surveillance or monitoring of how people act in public or private spaces and through the monitoring of communications whether by post, phone or online and extends to monitoring the records of senders and recipients as well as the content of messages

Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council acknowledges this definition and considers its obligation to uphold the privacy of residents, visitors and users of the borough as of utmost importance.

Below is a list of our lawful purposes for processing data:

The reasons we use your data (council service)

Legal services:

  • To answer freedom of information and data protection requests and complaints
  • To monitor regulation of investigatory powers (RIPA) authorisations
  • To provide a land charges service
  • To manage legal cases

Why we are allowed to use your data

  • Legal obligation under various UK laws including but not limited to:
    • The Freedom of Information Act 2000
    • The Data Protection Act 2018
    • The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
    • The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003
    • The Crime & Anti-social Behaviour Act
    • Consumer Contracts Regulations
    • The Environmental Protection Act 1990
    • The Town & Country Planning Act 1990
    • The Planning Act 2008
    • The Housing & Planning Act 2016
    • The Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990
    • Traffic Management Act 2004
    • The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulation 2014
    • The Localism Act 2011
    • The Highways Act 1980
    • The Traffic Management Act 2004
    • The Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984

Who we can share your data with?

  • The courts, judges, crown prosecution service, employment tribunals
  • Legal representatives of other parties
  • Expert witnesses
  • The police and other crime enforcement agencies
  • Other public authorities, for example, schools, NHS, councils, government departments (HMRC, DWP, Immigration)
  • Union representatives (with consent)
  • Elected Members and MPs (as your representative)

Privacy impact and risk assessment

The privacy and related risks of BWV

Privacy issue - collection of data:

  • Risk to individuals: Contravention of privacy rights and unauthorised access to data
  • Compliance risk: The General Data Protection Regulation: Contravenes Article 5(1)(a) - (fair and lawful processing)
  • HBBC corporate risk: The GDPR Article 5(1) comprises six principles and data controllers have a legal obligation to comply with these principles

Privacy issue - loss or misuse of data:

  • Risk to individuals: A failure to account for a full audit trail footage being kept for longer than necessary
  • Compliance risk: The General Data Protection Regulation: Contravenes Article 5(1)(e) - (storage limitation principle)
  • HBBC corporate risk: The GDPR Article 5(1) comprises six principles and data controllers have a legal obligation to comply with these principles

Privacy issue - footage being recorded unnecessarily:

  • Risk to individuals: If a retention period is not established information might be used for longer than necessary
  • Compliance risk: The General Data Protection Regulation: Contravenes Article 5(1)(e) - (storage limitation principle)
  • HBBC corporate risk: The GDPR Article 5(1) comprises six principles and data controllers have a legal obligation to comply with these principles

Privacy issue - the use of images in court proceedings:

  • Risk to individuals: The information provided may be beneficial to the prosecution or the defence
  • Compliance risk: Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996
  • HBBC corporate risk: Images that are relevant to an investigation must be retained in accordance with the Code of Practice issued under Section 23 of the CPIA

Privacy issue - the potential for covert surveillance:

  • Risk to individuals: Contravention of privacy rights
  • Compliance risk: Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000
  • HBBC corporate risk: The Council’s surveillance activities in respect of BWV will be overt. BWV devices will not be used in a covert manner. Under s26(9)(a) of RIPA, surveillance is 'covert' if, and only if, it is carried out in a manner that is calculated to ensure that persons who are subject to the surveillance are unaware that it is or may be taking place

Solutions to the privacy risks

Collection/use/loss of data:

  • Solution: Access to data only available to nominated officers. All data signed for by person receiving the data

Footage being retained unnecessarily:

  • Solution: The system has been properly set up to retain data for the correct retention period

The use of images in court proceedings:

  • Solution: All officers will receive training in all the necessary technical aspects of the equipment being used. This will cover the legal implications, equipment, and practical use. BWV is only used by the council for crime reduction and detection purposes and Health and Safety

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act 2018


Who will take legal responsibility under the GDPR?

  • Solution: Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council are the sole Data Controllers for the information. The Data Protection Officer is the nominated representative for Hinckley & Bosworth for ensuring compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679

What is the organisation’s purpose for using BWV?

  • Solution: Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council will use the images and audio for the prevention and detection of crime. To gather intelligence and provide evidential material for court proceedings

What are the benefits to be gained from using BWV?

  • Solution: BWV is a proven tool in detecting criminal activity. Using BWV can significantly reduce the time and cost on the Police service in investigating allegations. BWV is a useful tool in protecting individuals from false allegations. BWV captures actual events and is not influenced by interpretation

Can CCTV realistically deliver these benefits?

  • Solution: Yes, and does so consistently

Can less privacy-intrusive solutions achieve the same objectives?

  • Solution: We do inform members of the public that CCTV is in use. Officers will use discretion when deciding if BWV is required for collecting evidence

Will the use of BWV deliver the desired benefits now and remain suitable in the future?

  • Solution: Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council’s working methods are unlikely to change. However, an annual review of the equipment will be carried out to ensure that it is fit for purpose

What future demands may arise for wider use of images, and how will you address these?

  • Solution: We will comply with all future regulations placed upon us, including the General Data Protection Regulations. Until such time, the BWV will only be used for the purposes stated above

What are the views of those under surveillance?

  • Solution: The general feeling is that people who are not involved in crime are happy to be in a situation that is monitored by BWV

Evaluation of the solutions to privacy risks

Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council recognises the concerns from the public regarding privacy issues. 

Accordingly, body-warn video technology will only be deployed in a definite manner, using trained staff and in defined operational circumstances.

The use of BWV, both image and audio, has been investigated to ensure legislative compliance. All captured data will be processed and managed in compliance with the relevant legislation.

Data collected from body-worn video cameras is not accessible to any other parties other than other authorised council officers. Once the data is uploaded it will be kept securely on a USB flash drive or password protected PC. Only nominated council officers will be able to access the footage to view or delete recordings.

The system used will be regularly tested to ensure its efficiency in protecting the footage captured. Procedures will be regularly checked to ensure best practices are followed. Misuse of the data constitutes serious misconduct and will be robustly dealt with should it ever happen.

Operational guidance in the use of body-warn video

All operating officers should conduct BWV (body-warn video) surveillance with due respect and understanding that the use of BWV must be proportionate, legitimate and necessary. In addition, use of the equipment should address a ‘pressing social need’.

All officers with access to BWV will be fully trained in the use of systems and equipment, statutory legislative requirements and guidance on the appropriate use of recording, including on-street guidance.

When issued with the BWV, an officer must ensure that it is working correctly prior to leaving the office. This includes ensuring battery levels are sufficient, the date stamp is accurate, and that the recording equipment is functioning correctly.

BWV will only be used in the event of officers finding themselves in a confrontational situation where they are subject to, or feel that they are likely to be subject to, verbal or physical abuse, or to record incidents of suspected illegal activities.

Recording in private residences and business addresses

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides a right of respect for private and family life.

Officers shall inform any persons present that they are currently recording on BWV and state any intention to continue recording. If this is not acceptable, the officer should use discretion whether the continued use of recorded images is necessary.

Officers should seek the permission of a home or business owner to use BWV prior to recording in instances where children or vulnerable adults are present.

Recording in a person’s home will inevitably result in the recording of personal information unrelated to the incident/ activity being investigated. Accordingly, officers should receive training to converse only on the subject under investigation wherever possible.

Recording in open spaces

In so far as is practicable, officers will restrict recording to areas and persons necessary to obtain evidence and intelligence relevant to the incident/ activity and should attempt to minimise collateral intrusion of those not involved. The sound recording facility of the BWV equipment must not be used to record private conversations between members of the public.

Viewing of recorded images

Viewing of recorded images should take place in a restricted area, as approved by the Data Controller.

Unauthorised persons shall not be allowed access to that area when a viewing is taking place and arrangements should be put in place to ensure that viewing screens cannot be overlooked.

Responsibilities of the council when sharing data

The sharing of BWV images with other agencies will only occur in accordance with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679.

Data/ footage requests from criminal justice agencies

Any requests for the release of data shall be processed on a case by case basis unless a Court Order is in place.

Data will be made available in the first instance by restricted viewing of data in a secure environment at The Hinckley Hub and, if necessary, be made available to remove from the premises on a USB device.

Subject access requests from the public

Any person can make a request for footage of themselves captured by BWV. Officers should be aware that Section 7 of the Data Protection Act allows for any person to make a request for information held about them by the council and this includes footage captured by BWV in which they believe they have been subject.

Requests should be referred in the first instance to the Information Governance Officer. The Data Control Officer will determine whether disclosure of images to the individual would entail disclosure of images of third parties.

Where it is decided that this is an issue this footage will be supplied with all third parties blurred or pixelated in order to maintain the privacy of those individuals.

Further information in subject access requests

Data management provisions

The council believes that there are significant benefits in having clear policies and procedures for the operation of any surveillance. All footage obtained by BWV should be handed to the Data Controller in order to:

  • Download the footage
  • Delete any irrelevant data

Officers will indicate to the Data Controller whether they have footage that may later be used in evidence. If the footage is to be used as evidence in court it will be saved on a USB flash drive and placed in a sealed bag that is labelled with the following:

  1. Day, date, time and location recording was commenced
  2. Day, date, time and location that recording was concluded

A clear record shall also be kept of the following:

  • Whether any person had access to or used data between items
  • The name of officer who made the recording
  • Location of recording
  • Type of offence
  • Fixed Penalty Notice reference number if applicable
  • Names of any other officers present during filming

When footage has been downloaded successfully to PC, footage remaining on the USB drive and on the BWV will be deleted. Normally, each new shift will be commenced with the BWV having no previous footage stored on them.

Legislation and statutory guidance

The use of BWV and the integrity of any data recorded will be considered in accordance with the following legislation and statutory guidance:

  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679
    • We will only keep your data for as long as we need it or if we must keep it by law
    • You can ask to see what data we hold about you and ask to be sent a copy. This is called a subject access request
    • This service is free of charge unless there is a lot of work or a lot of photocopying and postage, which we are allowed to charge a reasonable fee for
    • You can also ask us to consider any complaint you have about how we have used your data or ask for any automated portable electronic data file we hold on you to be sent to another organisation
    • In some circumstances, you can ask for your data to be deleted. This is called the ‘right to be forgotten’
    • You may exercise this right if you believe that there is no legal reason for the use of your information, or that the information is no longer required for the purpose that it was collected
  • Data Protection Act 2018
    • Where there is a need for the council to share enforcement information with other agencies, we will follow the provisions of the DPA
    • The DPA regulates the processing of personal data or sensitive personal data, whether processed on computer, CCTV (including BWV), stills camera or any other media
  • Freedom of Information Act 2000
    • The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) grants a general right of access to information held by public bodies, which is not personal data. This right to access includes digital images recorded by BWV
    • Information released under the FOIA should concern statistical and other non-personal information
    • However, each request for information must be examined on a case by case basis and judged on its merits, taking into account the exemptions of Part II, sections 21- 44 of the FOIA
  • Human Rights Act 1998
    • The council is a public authority for the purposes of the Human Rights Act 1998. We therefore apply the principles of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
    • This policy and all associated enforcement decisions take account of the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998. Due regard must be given to the right to a fair trial and the right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence
  • Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
    • The power to acquire data under RIPA is provided to the authority only under the circumstances of protecting public health or preventing or detecting criminal activities
    • The above guidance and legislation will at all times be adhered to in conjunction with the Information Commissioner’s Code of Practice and the Information Commissioner’s Office-Code of Practice on CCTV

Home office CCTV code of practice

Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council shall wherever practical, adhere to the principles within the Code of Practice. The code sets out guiding principles that should apply to all surveillance camera systems in public places. In the code of practice there are 12 guiding principles that are listed below:

  • Use of a surveillance camera system must always be for a specified purpose which is in pursuit of an identified pressing need
  • The use of a surveillance camera system must take into account its effect on individuals and their privacy, with regular reviews to ensure its use remains justified
  • There must be as much transparency in the use of a surveillance camera system as possible, including a published contact point for access to information and complaints
  • There must be clear responsibility and accountability for all surveillance camera system activities including images and information collected, held and used
  • Clear rules, policies and procedures must be in place before a surveillance camera system is used, and these must be communicated to all who need to comply with them
  • No more images and information should be stored than that which is strictly required for the stated purpose of a surveillance camera system, and such images and information should be deleted once their purposes have been discharged
  • Access to retained images and information should be restricted and there must be clearly defined rules on who can gain access and for what purpose such access is granted. The disclosure of images and information should only take place when it is necessary for such a purpose or for law enforcement purposes
  • Surveillance camera system operators should consider any approved operational, technical and competency standards relevant to a system and its purpose and work to meet and maintain those standards
  • Surveillance camera system images and information should be subject to appropriate security measures to safeguard against unauthorised access and use
  • There should be effective review and audit mechanisms to ensure legal requirements, policies and standards are complied with in practice, and regular reports should be published
  • When the use of a surveillance camera system is in pursuit of a legitimate aim, and there is a pressing need for its use, it should then be used in the most effective way to support public safety and law enforcement with the aim of processing images and information of evidential value
  • Any information used to support a surveillance camera system which compares against a reference database for matching purposes should be accurate and kept up to date


Retained data will be kept until all investigations have been completed, or a prosecution has taken place. If no prosecutions are sought following an investigation, the data will be deleted after a period of six months from recording.

Any other data not required for evidential purposes will be deleted by the next working day, Monday to Friday.


Ownership of BWV footage recorded by council officers will be by Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council.

This policy will be reviewed by the council’s Director of Corporate Services annually.

Appendix A

Appendix B

Last updated: 16/08/2023 12:54