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CCTV Law in the UK

The benefits of CCTV in deterring crime or bringing about convictions are undeniable. But if you install it incorrectly, you could be breaking the law. Read on for some clarification of what you can and can’t do when it comes to surveillance cameras.

Domestic CCTV

This is legal and your neighbours cannot stop you installing it. However, you must be considerate. The Human Rights Act covers the individual’s right to privacy. If your cameras point wholly or partially at your neighbour’s property, they could have grounds to prosecute you for voyeurism or harassment. This can be avoided with careful placement of the cameras, by a professional, at an angle that covers the widest area possible without intruding on your neighbour’s privacy.

Some good advice for keeping the peace is to approach them before you have anything installed. Explain honestly that you’re doing it out of concern for security, that the whole street could benefit, and that you respect their rights to privacy.

Commercial Premises

The Data Protection Act 1998 must be respected when formulating a CCTV surveillance plan for your business.  You must adhere to these rules:

  • Inform everyone on your premises that they are being recorded, verbally or by using signage.
  • You must tell the Information Commissioner’s Office of your intentions and objectives…
  • …and you must stick to these objectives. If you are intending to use CCTV as a crime deterrent, you must not use it to monitor the working patterns of your staff, for example.
  • Staff must be told if they are being monitored. If a specific crime is suspected, secret recording is allowed for the duration of the investigation only.

Treatment of Images

  • For commercial premises, if anyone asks to see the images you have recorded of them, you must comply within 40 days
  • If you have a business that is at high-risk of theft and can foresee a time when your recordings could be used to secure a conviction, you must ensure that your system is legally compliant, tested, and has a full audit trail and is correctly labelled with dates and times – any of these failures could lead to the recordings being inadmissible as evidence.
  • All images of people or property captured on business premises are covered by the Data Protection Act and cannot be redistributed. Images of any criminal activity should be passed securely onto the police.

Use a Trusted CCTV Installer in Bristol

One of the easiest ways you can ensure that your surveillance system is legally complaint is to get an expert on board form the start. If you’re looking to safeguard your home or commercial premises with CCTV, Bristol based Standfast have over 25 years’ experience in the security business. Give us a call on 0117 911 8205 and we’ll set you on the right path.

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BWS Standfast
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Bristol BS6 7SL
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