One issue that crops up repeatedly in our work and research in the area of school security systems is that of data protection and privacy. It is a potentially sensitive subject and one in which we must adhere to guidelines set out by a number of stakeholders and policy makers in this area.
For example, the department of education have said that use of CCTV systems in Schools is at the discretion of school boards of management but that the use of CCTV systems must be in proportion with the issues that prompted the school to have the CCTV systems installed in the first place. In other words, schools are well advised to have a system in place but they must operate within the boundaries of legitimacy and not stray into any gratuitous or non-essential areas. Alertwatch have built up a wealth of experience in this regard and we are extremely well positioned to advise schools based on successful projects that we have completed in the education sector.
The data protection commissioner has stated that as long as schools are transparent about the purpose of their CCTV systems they are fully supportive of the systems being implemented. For example, if cameras are being used as an anti-bullying device then there should be a sign in place beside the camera stating that it is being operated for this purpose. Transparency is absolutely vital in terms of our data protection responsibilities and we can ensure compliance by implementing a series of tried and trusted steps just like the one described above.
Something for schools also to be aware of is that there are department of education grants available to schools to help fund the cost of CCTV systems, especially where they are being set up to combat difficulties with vandalism and/or graffiti. The department is committed to assisting schools with proactive initiatives which will secure school premises and help minimise the threat of ongoing vandalism.
At Alertwatch, we have a significant depth of experience in designing and implementing school CCTV systems that accommodate the needs and requirements of schools/students/parents and that run efficiently within the guidelines developed by the department of education in conjunction with the data protection commissioner. For further details and to learn more about how we can be of service to your school please visit us at www.alertwatch.ie or call us today at 01 6896390.