Deliberate Destruction of CCTV Recordings

Dear Sirs,

Re: Deliberate Destruction of CCTV Recordings

I write  with regard to claims from Highways England and their contractors following damage caused to Crown property.  Typically, the damage is to a barrier or the road surface.

Often the contractor for the area is alerted to an incident by ‘NCC’ the National Control Centre, a facility provided cameras to monitor the road network 24/7.  When a repair invoice is presented to a driver, fleet or insurer this frequently sees a claim for the NCC operator’s time.

These incidents are captured on CCTV but the footage is ignored; no effort is made by NCC, the contractor or Highways England to secure the recorded, independent evidence of the incident.  I question the purpose of recording traffic if the facility is disregarded. This policy choice amounts to an intentional disposal of relevant data which could exonerate a driver and thereby eliminate further distress and inconvenience. The current situation also gives rise to unnecessary costs and friction between the parties.

It appears to be commonly known that CCTV footage is retained for 1 week*.  The data exists and is retained.  I wish to lodge formal complaints:

this period is insufficient

  • following an incident CCTV footage is not  retained and this amounts to
  • deliberate destruction of disclosable documents.  Evidence is withheld from a Court determining disputes concerning liability and quantum.

Please confirm this will be addressed immediately, that:

  • following an incident CCTV footage will be secured and retained for presentation to the alleged at fault party or their insurer and
  • all your contractors and NCC have been advised of this requirement

Highways England has taken a negative stance toward insurers.  It is common knowledge that insurers consider negligence and have done so for years.  However, they are accused of ‘taking advantage of this’ to avoid settlement and apparently adding to a contractor’s loss.

Additionally, it is evident distracted driving is an increasing problem with use of a mobile phone receiving recent attention and a doubling of fines.  However, this is only one aspect of concentration interference.  We are all too often presented ‘swerve to avoid’ cases where it is alleged the driver imbedded in a barrier is there because of another’s bad driving – a party that leaves the scene and whose presence cannot be corroborated, their vehicle unidentifiable, in the absence of the evidence Highways England possess.

Please confirm drivers, fleets, insurers, Highways England and your contractors will no longer be prejudiced because of data deletion policies.

Yours faithfully

*https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/cctv_footage_request_of_accident#incoming-889050

“CCTV Images are held for Maximum of 7 days. Unfortunately due to the timeframes involved with this request there will no longer be any CCTV footage available. “

Date:               09 Nov 2016
Our Ref:           A03A001/L536762

To:

  • Alan.Woodrow@highwaysengland.co.uk
  • Neil.Cook@highwaysengland.co.uk
  • Kevin.Mullaney@highwaysengland.co.uk
  • tim.reardon@highwaysengland.co.uk
  • Jim.O’Sullivan@highwaysengland.co.uk
  • highwaysmonitor@orr.gsi.gov.uk

From: Mullaney, Kevin
Sent: 15 December 2016 17:09
To: Philip Swift
Cc: Woodrow, Alan / Cook, Neil
Subject: RE: Deliberate Destruction of CCTV Recordings

Thank you for your email regarding the destruction of CCTV recordings.

The primary purpose of the CCTV footage is to support our business need to manage incidents and traffic flow. We retain the footage for up to 7 days.  If we kept it for longer than the 7 days which meets our business need, we would be in breach of the Data Protection Act, as we would be retaining personal information on a ‘just-in-case’ basis.  The Information Commissioner’s office is aware of our approach.  In addition storing all our camera feeds, as high quality images, for a long period of time, would be very expensive for the taxpayer.

If a road user needs a copy of the CCTV for insurance purposes, they can request this within the 7 day period, and if it is available we will give it to them.  However, if the police have requested it for an investigation, then the individual would still need to request the copy from Highways England (if it is within the 7 day retention period) – we would however need to confirm with the police that providing a copy would not prejudice their investigation.

Regards

Kevin Mullaney, Head of Green Claims
Highways England | The Cube | 199 Wharfside Street | Birmingham | B1 1RN

Tel: +44 (0) 300 4703247 | Mobile: + 44 (0) 7710 919090
Web: http://www.highways.gov.uk
GTN: 0300 470 3247


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