If necessary, the police can use about 55,000 civilian cameras, NU.nl has found out. The criminal investigation department uses the police database Camera in Beeld for this purpose, in which citizens and institutions can register their camera. A total of 314,000 cameras are registered in that database. There are also 236,000 from companies and nearly 23,000 from government agencies.
(Image Detection Requested, Etten-Leur 7 August 2022 )
When the detectives investigate a crime, the database is searched for available cameras in the vicinity of the crime scene. The police will then contact the owner of the camera. If interesting images have been recorded, the police requisitions the images. The owner is then obliged to cooperate.
Such images can also be seen every week in several police reports and in investigation programs such as Opsporing Verzoeken.
There is debate about whether this practice is legally permitted at all. If the police want to place a camera in a street, permission must first be obtained from the mayor. But individuals or companies that run security cameras don’t have to. Civil rights movement Bits of Freedom (BoF) therefore believes that the network and surveillance of Camera in Beeld is ‘illegitimate’.
The police state that in its information and advice to citizens about installing cameras, the cameras should focus as much as possible on the security of property and valuable objects. Recording the situation on the public road should be ‘limited’, according to the advice.