191004 HE CCTV Response

04/10/2019 From: James Harrison @ highwaysengland.co.uk


Thank you for your email dated 2nd October concerning the retention of CCTV coverage on the strategic road network.

In accordance with our legal obligations under the Data Protection Act, we are not permitted to retain personal information for longer than is necessary. The primary purpose for the use of CCTV on the strategic road network is to assist with the management of incidents and traffic flow.

Any decision on how long to retain CCTV coverage for needs to be considered with this business need in mind, along with our duty to comply with statutory obligations.

We consider that a 7 day retention period for CCTV coverage is sufficient to enable us to meet our business needs and to comply with legal obligations.

Retaining CCTV coverage for a longer period of time would be in breach of the Data Protection Act as we would then be keeping personal information for longer than would be necessary to meet our business needs. The Information Commissioner’s Office is aware of our approach on this matter.

The ability to provide copies of CCTV coverage to customers for insurance claim purposes is a by-product of its use and is not the primary purpose.

The storage of high quality images from our camera feeds for a longer period of time would come at significant additional expense to the tax payer.

Taking all of these factors into account, we do not believe that any change to our current protocol on the retention period for CCTV coverage is necessary and we do not intend to implement any changes as a result.

Please note that any driver involved in an incident on our network can request a copy of any relevant CCTV coverage which may exist within a 7 day period. In such a scenario, the operator will tag, save and provide any relevant coverage which may be available. There are some circumstances where we may not be able to do this such as, for example, where a police investigation would be prejudiced by doing so.

Finally, concerning your comments on the onus of proof for incidents where CCTV footage has not been retained, there are of course well established legal principles already in place to cover this.

It will always be for the Claimant to prove their case on the balance of probabilities. If the Defendant is of the opinion that the Claimant has failed to meet the requisite standard of proof, then it is their prerogative to deny liability.

Should the Claimant then decide to pursue the matter and issue legal proceedings, in the continued absence of agreement between the parties, it will ultimately be for the Court to consider the matter on the evidence provided by both parties and to reach a decision based upon this.

Naturally, it will be for each party to plead their case as they deem appropriate in the circumstances and the Court will be best placed to give consideration to any contentious issues which may be raised.

For these reasons, it would not be appropriate, or indeed possible, to amend the onus of proof.

Thank you once again for contacting us. If you have any further questions regarding this e-mail or any other Highways England issue please feel free to contact us via our 24 hour Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000. Alternatively, please e-mail us at info@highwaysengland.co.uk or access our website http://www.highways.gov.uk where information on all Highways England policies and procedures can be found.

Kind regards

Customer Contact Centre
Highways England | National Traffic Operations Centre | 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Bus. Park | Birmingham | B32 1AF
Tel: 0300 123 5000
Web: http://www.highways.gov.uk

04/10/2019 To: James Harrison @ highwaysengland.co.uk

Dear Mr Harrison,

Whilst I thank you for your email, reference to ‘the primary purpose’ does not appear relevant as I understand there are other purposes you have not mentioned for example:

Asset Protection:
• Record incidents of damage to HA infrastructure, either accidental or otherwise, by vehicles or persons (including determining Green Claims).

Incidents Occurring on the Network:

• Post-incident investigation – data to be disclosed to the police if requested.
• To counter/address litigation regarding HA liability (Red Claims).
• To counter/address allegations of malpractice by HE personnel.

You are permitted to retain and ‘as long as necessary’ in respect of Green Claims could be years – though the nature of the information would / should give rise to shorter case life.

Additionally, I believe you have misunderstood my request. I have no interest in your day to day recordings of flowing traffic. My interest is ‘incidents’.

In accordance with your legal obligations under the Data Protection Act, you ARE permitted to retain personal information IF necessary. The Act allows for this. In this instance, the information is necessary to enable informed comment to be made about an incident, a claim. If what I have managed to glean of your recording reasons (above) is correct, you can retain information for the very purpose I have described.

I am not asking you to change your current decision on how long to retain CCTV coverage generally. I have specifically referred to ‘incidents’. A 7 day retention period for CCTV coverage maybe sufficient to enable you to meet your business needs and to comply with legal obligations in most circumstances. However, where an incident occurs, 7 days is unreasonable.

How are you complying with the purposes I have cited (above) by permitting CCTV footage to be destroyed?

Your reference to the Court is noted. The process I am asking to be amended, to satisfy your purpose, is intended to remove doubt and in turn ensure no party’s time is wasted, to include that of a Court.

Your business needs include recovery of claims for third party damage and so, where an accident occurs, you are clearly not in breach of the DPA. In fact, your policy of more or less immediate destruction is against your duties owed to the Court to preserve evidence which would be helpful and in many cases conclusive.

Where a claim is being presented, given the costs presented to date, I anticipate any storage and presentation charge would be more than addressed. What of the savings that result from such vital, impartial, evidence. I have at no point suggested ‘amending the onus of proof’, I am seeking to remove doubt.

15/10/2019 – no response having been received, a copy was sent … and again, 04/11/2019 and 20/11/2019

25/03/2020 – further request for retention of CCTV information