Nunhead residents defiant over ‘unauthorised’ CCTV

Katherine Johnston (27 February, 2020) Housing

'It would be fundamentally wrong to remove the CCTV when it is the only thing effectively deterring criminal activity on our doorsteps' - leaseholder Paul Rhodes

34971Tappesfield Estate

Southwark Council won’t back down on its demands to remove CCTV from a communal stairwell in Nunhead’s Tappesfield Estate.

Paul Rhodes has collected signatures from all affected neighbours in support of the system he paid for and installed himself after being informed by the council that there was no budget for CCTV systems or a door entry system.

As the News reported last week, his CCTV footage is regularly capturing images of drug users taking what appear to be Class A substances and leaving behind paraphernalia including used syringes in his communal stairwell.

Cllr Kieron Williams, responsible for housing at Tooley Street, had told the News resident-run CCTV was not allowed due to privacy concerns.

Government advice says domestic CCTV operators need to inform their neighbours and put up notices telling people that recording is taking place.

Under privacy and data protection laws, anyone captured in images captured “beyond your private domestic property” is legally entitled to request copies of images and photos of themselves.  There also has to be a clear reason for why CCTV is necessary when it films any publicly accessible place.

Paul now has the written support of all five affected flats in his staircase.  The residents have added their signatures to a document explaining how the CCTV system works and how images can be requested.

It explains that the camera is automatically set to capture images of anyone who loiters in the communal area for a set period of time – not those who are coming and going – and only within specific times.

Paul says he refuses to remove the CCTV in the hope the signed document can persuade the council he is a responsible operator – or to fast track funding to install a security door and CCTV themselves.

“With 100 per cent support for the system, what possible reason can Southwark Council now put forward for removing the CCTV?,” Paul asked.

“For my part, I must follow my own conscience and ignore Southwark Council’s instruction to remove the CCTV.

“Why Southwark Council wants to increase the likelihood of harm or serious injury to its tenants and lease holders, I do not know, but it would be fundamentally wrong to remove the CCTV when it is the only thing effectively deterring criminal activity on our doorsteps.”

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