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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2007, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
Assembly CCTV 'turned on homes'
Police advised the assembly not to prosecute the guards
Security guards at Welsh assembly buildings in Cardiff Bay were caught turning CCTV cameras onto nearby homes and hotels, it has emerged.

Five employees based in Cardiff Bay received "significant" disciplinary penalties for the misuse of the cameras within the last two years.

An assembly spokeswoman said the incidents were "isolated" and were not believed to have breached privacy.

Conservative AM Jonathan Morgan said the guards should have been sacked.

In a response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act from a local newspaper, the assembly said the security guards had received the disciplinary penalties for "misusing CCTV equipment" by "turning the cameras towards private dwellings".

Apart from the totally inappropriate nature of this behaviour..I am very concerned that security staff were not focusing on the security of the assembly
Jonathan Morgan AM

The penalties included formal warnings plus "amendments to terms and conditions and exclusion from promotion opportunities".

A spokeswoman for the assembly said legal and police advice was taken as to whether a criminal investigation was appropriate.

On their advice a decision was taken not to prosecute.

"But significant disciplinary measures were taken against the staff involved, which included formal warnings and loss of pay," she said.

The Freedom of Information response read: "During the period stated in the request, five staff received disciplinary penalties for misusing CCTV equipment.

"Penalties were applied for the occasional misuse or suspected misuse of equipment by turning the cameras towards private dwellings therefore failing to focus on the security of the estate.

"Formal warnings were issued in all cases together with sanctions including amendments to terms and conditions and exclusion from promotion opportunities."


Cardiff North AM Mr Morgan said he was going to raise the matter with the assembly's presiding officer Dafydd Elis-Thomas.

"I want to know why these security guards were not sacked."

He added. "How much worse can it get for them to lose their job?

"The position they are in is a serious one that demands professionalism and requires the confidence of assembly members and all that work there.

"Quite apart from the totally inappropriate nature of this behaviour, and in light of recent security threats around the country, I am very concerned that security staff were not focusing on the security of the assembly estate as they are employed to do," he said.

The assembly security guards work on a rota covering the assembly offices, Senedd and Pierhead buildings.

"Disciplinary matters"

There are several cameras around these buildings.

The assembly spokeswoman said the incidents of CCTV camera misuse were not believed to breach the privacy of any member of the public, or compromise the security of the assembly.

"The disciplinary matters related to misuse of assembly equipment," she said.

"The incidents of CCTV cameras being pointed towards private dwellings were isolated occurrences and there is no evidence to suggest that offences were widespread in terms of frequency or practice," she added.

"There has been no evidence of any similar incidents since.

"Regular checks of the use of cameras are undertaken by management and action was taken quickly when these matters were discovered."


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