Normally when you get called to the diary room on Big Brother, you have to reveal some secret or grievance about another house mate. But what takes place and how you go about undertaking surveillance and monitoring isn’t always like that!
In this blog we wanted to let you know about the surveillance record classes in the General retention and disposal schedule (GRDS).
Surveillance in GRDS v.7
In the previous version of the GRDS there were two record classes covering surveillance recordings. During consultation for the latest version, you let us know that these classes and triggers just weren’t working for your agency.
A number of agencies also contacted us letting us know that increasingly their officers were wearing body cameras to document compliance or monitoring activities. The use of body cameras, drones, mobile devices and other technologies is becoming just another tool used in everyday business for surveillance and monitoring.
So we’ve listened and what we’ve heard is:
The purposes of capturing surveillance footage are not always the same.
Footage captured for routine surveillance and monitoring, e.g. security surveillance recordings of malls, traffic etc. This footage is captured by devices that are turned on and left running for a continuous period, e.g. turning on the device is part of the daily routine. Generally this footage is overwritten as part of normal everyday business. Coverage of routine surveillance and monitoring footage depends on what happens in the recordings, i.e. where it:
- does not contain any evidence nor is it required for further investigations – retain until business action completed, see GRDS reference 1277
- contains evidence or is required for further investigations – retain in accordance with the relevant incident investigation, court proceedings etc.
- is requested by investigative and law enforcement agencies, you must retain the records for 1 year after recordings are sent to relevant law enforcement agency. See GRDS reference 1202.
Footage captured for a specific purpose
Some agencies are using surveillance devices to capture footage for specific purposes such as compliance inspections, e.g. pool safety. This footage is different to routine footage which is generally running continuously. In this situation – you turn a device on before going into an inspection and turn it off again on completion. You may also need to advise the person the inspection is being recorded.
Footage captured during these activities may:
- be incident free and therefore is not required for investigative or evidentiary purposes, so you can use GRDS reference 1284 – retain for 90 days after record was created.
- provide information or evidence related to the specific purpose it was recorded (e.g. pool safety inspection) and may be required for further action (e.g. maintenance work that needs to be done), investigation or prosecution – in this case you must retain the footage in accordance with the relevant record class in the GRDS or another approved schedule.
The pool safety inspector goes to the suburb of Narnia wearing a GoPro. She turns it on as she gets out of the car and goes to each house. At each house she may get a different response from the occupant.
|Scenario||Outcome||Retention of footage|
|Resident A allows inspector to have a look at their backyard and the pool area.||Passed inspection – footage not required for investigation or evidence||GRDS reference 1284 – retain for 90 days after record was created.|
|Resident B is verbally and physically abusive, doesn’t allow inspector to look in the backyard.||Does not pass inspection – footage required for investigation or evidence||Retain in accordance with relevant record class in GRDS or another approved schedule.|
|Resident C allows inspector to have a look at their backyard and the pool area.
No incidents, no issues with pool fence.
|Passed inspection – footage not required for investigation or evidence||GRDS reference 1284 – retain for 90 days after record was created.|
|Police contact agency and ask for footage of inspection of Resident A property||Footage required by law enforcement agency||GRDS reference 1202 – retain for 1 year after recordings sent to relevant law enforcement agency.|
|Police contact agency and ask for footage of inspection of Resident B property||Footage required by law enforcement agency||Select the longest retention from the following:
Retain in accordance with relevant record class in GRDS or another approved schedule.
GRDS reference 1202 – retain for 1 year after recordings sent to relevant law enforcement agency.
|After agency staff review the footage, it is found the pool inspector slapped the resident A.||Footage required as evidence by the agency.||Retain in accordance with relevant record class in GRDS or another approved schedule.|
For more information on managing, capturing and destroying surveillance records have a look at our Surveillance records guideline. If you are not sure about the triggers, or have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Principal Appraisal Archivist