SAN FRANCISCO—As a multitude of cities and towns in the country consider installing municipal surveillance systems, more struggle with how the video and these cameras should be used. Who is in control? Who has the capability to view video? What are the privacy limits? 

Sir Chris Fox has tackled these questions head-on during his 34-year tenure in British law enforcement. During a media presentation in May, he said in addition to the obvious questions above, one of the most critical issues to consider with public surveillance systems is that city officials define their reasons for the program before jumping in feet first.

“What does success look like?” he said. “What is it I want and how do I know when I’ve reached that? Is camera technology what I need? Sometimes it isn’t.”

Fox was involved in the coordination of the national police operations after the London Underground bombings in 2005 and he also organized the security operations for the