Police investigation launched into city centre CCTV operation

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A police investigation has been launched following an incident involving Lisburn Commerce Against Crime’s city centre CCTV system, it has been revealed.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council has confirmed to the Star that a police investigation is currently underway, but the PSNI and council have both refused to outline the nature of the incident.

The CCTV system, known as CityWatch NI, was launched in 2001 and back in February opened a new state-of-the-art CCTV control room in Lisburn PSNI Station.

The police investigation into the operation of the CCTV system was revealed in minutes of a meeting of the council’s Development Committee, which was held on October 11.

The minutes show how the council conveyed its appreciation to the PSNI for “expediting the investigation of the incident with Lisburn Commerce Against Crime (LCAC)” and “providing temporary cover for interim arrangements” for the initiative.

It was added the that police had made resources available to house LCAC staff within Lisburn Police Station.

The minutes say that an independent review of the CCTV operations is set to take place, with the council agreeing to “assist elected members on the board of LCAC” in taking it forward.

The document adds that terms of reference for the review will be brought to the November meeting of the Development Committee for consideration.

The minutes also note that a further report will be brought to the committee at its meeting in November and future meetings of the committee, updating members on the progress, including an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Minutes of a special meeting of council held the previous week said members received a detailed update in relation to developments arising in respect of LCAC and the CCTV system.

At that meeting council agreed to notify the Information Commissioner’s Office “of any potential data protection breach subject to discussion with PSNI in line with the council’s independent legal advice.”

A spokesperson by Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council said: “The council can confirm that a PSNI investigation is currently underway regarding the operation of the public CCTV system as operated by Lisburn Commerce Against Crime (LCAC) for Lisburn city centre and some surrounding areas. The priorities for all of the partners involved are to support public safety through the effective use of the CCTV system and co-operation with the police investigation.

“Due to the ongoing investigation Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council cannot comment further at this time.”

A PSNI spokesperson told the Star that the statement is the “agreed response” of police and the council, adding: “We won’t be making any further comment at this time.”

The Star contacted two directors of LCAC - DUP Councillors James Tinsley and Andrew Ewing - and the Chair of the local Policing and Community Safety Partnership - Alliance Councillor Aaron McIntyre. All three said they were unable to comment on the matter.