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Britain’s Surveillance Camera Commissioner has awarded Crowded Space Drones the first ever private sector certificate of compliance for surveillance camera systems and the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 for the use of UAS in surveillance.

This certification has been granted following a comprehensive independent audit by IQ Verify on behalf of the Commissioner. Historically, such certification has only ever been granted to public sector organisations such as the Police and NHS and so represents a big leap forward in recognised standards for the private sector.

Crowded Space Drones is the leading provider of public safety and surveillance by drone in the United Kingdom, working for organisations ranging from the police to the MoD, local authorities and enforcement agencies. It is unique in holding enhanced permission from the Civil Aviation Authority permitting it to fly closer to people and higher than 400ft.

When conducting any form of surveillance for public authorities, transparency of compliance is crucial to both the authority and the public. We are […] the only private sector organisation to obtain this certification [and] it not only gives our clients confidence that we comply with all legislation in this area, but enables public trust in our work,” commented Crowded Space Drones Director, Andrew McQuillan.

The IQ Verify audit process took place in early October, monitored by the Commissioner. It encompassed all policies and procedures in relation to data protection, privacy, subject access and cyber security. Previous surveillance deployments were also audited to ensure historical work has complied with the law and best practice procedures.

The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice was [intended] to ensure that the use of cameras in public places was regulated and only used in pursuit of a specified purpose. It sets out 12 Guiding Principles which strike a balance between protecting the public and upholding civil liberties […] It is a little-known fact that the remit of this Code specifically includes surveillance camera systems used in UAS (drones) - whether this is private sector or linked to a relevant authority […] Of the great many private sector UAS organisations in the UK, it is exciting to see Crowded Space Drones set the quality benchmark for the industry, having now achieved the very first Surveillance Camera Code of Practice Certification. We sincerely hope this marks the start of a positive change towards better standards throughout the industry,” stated Laurence Clarke, Director of IQ Verify.

A surveillance drone as operated by Crowded Space Drones. (Photo: Crowded Space Drones)

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