Public Surveillance CCTV
In November of 2009, the Cornwall Police Service submitted a grant application through the Civil Remedies Grant Program to secure funding for the purchase and installation of a public surveillance CCTV network in the City of Cornwall. The grant application was approved and the CCPS received over $100,000 in July 2010 from the Ministry of the Attorney General for this initiative.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is public video surveillance legal in Canada?
A: No Canadian Jurisdiction has not yet passed legislation that explicitly addresses public camera surveillance. Various federal and provincial freedoms of information and privacy statutes provide broad authority for information collection in the name of law enforcement, but it is unclear whether these statutes are capable of specifically authorizing public camera surveillance. Until the Courts have an opportunity to rule on whether this authorization is valid, existing surveillance use is "legal."
Q: How will these cameras be used?
A: Once CCTV cameras are installed and activated, the CPS plans to use what is called "passive monitoring" of the cameras. In other words, CPS members generally will not be watching the camera images in real time, as the images are being captured. Rather, the images will be captured and recorded, then used by the police to investigate and solve crimes if criminal activity is reported in the areas where the cameras are situated.
Q: Are the camera placements permanent?
A: Not necessarily. These cameras will be deployed in strategic areas within the city and may be relocated from time to time in order to address the current trends in crime. If crime patterns shift, the CPS can move the cameras to new locations.
Q: Will the cameras be used to see into homes or other buildings?
A: No. CCTV cameras observe public spaces only, where the courts have held there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.
Q: Do these cameras have audio monitoring/recording capabilities?
A: No. CCTV cameras are not equipped with audio monitoring or recording capabilities.
Q: How will the CPS use these videos? Will other people have access to these video recordings?
A: Policies and procedures on the use and disclosure of video recording shall be made in accordance with the guidelines established by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. Audits shall be conducted periodically to ensure compliance with these established practices.
Purpose and Principles of Monitoring
The key purpose of the Cornwall Public Surveillance CCTV is to promote public safety in the downtown areas of the City of Cornwall.
The goals of the Cornwall Public Surveillance CCTV Project are:
- to contribute to the safe environment of the downtown areas;
- to assist as one of the components of the downtown areas revitalization efforts; and,
- to improve the ability of the Cornwall Police Service and community to respond to crime and anti-social behaviour occurring in Cornwall’s downtown areas.
The objectives of the Cornwall Public Surveillance CCTV Project are:
- to deter crime and anti-social behaviour;
- to increase the perception of safety; and,
- to use camera images as evidence to identify suspects involved in criminal activities.