Crowded Space Drones receives UK's first surveillance compliance certificate

Posted on 14 October, 2020 by Advance 

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

Image courtesy Crowded Space Drones

This certification has been granted following a comprehensive independent audit by IQ Verify on behalf of the Commissioner. Historically, this 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 are the leading provider of Public Safety and Surveillance by drone in the United Kingdom, working for organisations ranging from the Police to Military of Defence, Local Authorities and Enforcement Agencies. They uniquely hold an enhanced permission from the Civil Aviation Authority permitting them to fly closer to people and higher than 400ft.

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

Crowded Space Drones were audited by IQ Verify in early October. This audit process is monitored by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner and encompasses all policies and procedures in relation to Data Protection, Privacy, Subject Access & Cyber Security. Previous surveillance deployments were also audited to ensure historic work has complied with the law and best practice procedures.

Laurence Clarke, Director of IQ Verify, explained: "The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice was issued by the Secretary of State under Section 30 of the Protections of Freedoms Act 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."

Crowded Space Drones was established in November 2015 by Andrew McQuillan following his experience in stopping illegal drones on the sets of HBO Game of Throne
s & Disney’s Star Wars
. The company is based in Belfast, Northern Ireland with an operational office in London.