Everything you need to know about the legal requirements of CCTV
According to the British Security Industry Authority, there are around 5.9 million CCTV cameras in operation in the UK, which means that there is one camera for every 11 people.
There’s no denying of the increasing importance of CCTV both in the private and the public sector as it’s a powerful criminal deterrent and an invaluable aid for the authorities. As such, more and more homeowners opt for a CCTV security system to enhance the security of their homes and enjoy peace of mind.
But does a home or business CCTV security system entail any legal obligations or other pitfalls you should be aware of? Read on to discover the legal requirements of CCTV, what you can and cannot do with your CCTV cameras and if you are subject to any legal legislation.
Is CCTV worth it?
Definitely. Not only can CCTV cameras catch intruders in the act and provide valuable evidence that can lead to the apprehension of the culprit, but CCTV systems are among the most effective burglar deterrents as well, reducing the chances of a theft or a break in taking place on your property.
Any cost of CCTV installation is heavily offset by the benefits you can reap from your CCTV security system, not to mention the fact that a professionally installed CCTV security system can help reduce the premiums of your home insurance.
Can I install a CCTV camera at home?
Yes. You can install a CCTV security system at home for surveillance and security purposes. In fact, the Metropolitan Police do recommend so themselves.
Do I need permission to install CCTV?
No. Installing a CCTV security system at your home or place of business is perfectly legal and doesn’t require any sort of prior permission.
Only in the event that you are not the owner of the property at hand, then you need to ask the permission of your landlord or the rightful owner.
Legal requirements for CCTV
If you are planning on installing a CCTV system in your home, then you are subject to very little legislation which affects you only in the event that your cameras’ field of view covers public spaces like the pavement in front of your house or if it points directly at your neighbour’s property. In short, as long as you respect and don’t invade the privacy of others and only use the CCTV system for the security of your own home, there is no need for legal concern.
In light of this, it’s always a prudent suggestion to discuss the matter with your neighbours prior to having a CCTV system installed on your property to avoid any potential misunderstandings as misuse of CCTV equipment or footage could result in criminal or civil charges being brought against you.
If you intend on installing a CCTV security system in a commercial property on the other hand, then you need to comply with the Data Protection Act of 1998.
Furthermore, according to the latest changes in the EU legal landscape, business owners whose cameras capture the identity of their staff or other private individuals need to be registered as a data controller under the dictates of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In their code of practice guide, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) draws the attention to three crucial points with regards to the use of CCTV:
- Data must only be utilised and stored for its initial intend. For example, if the CCTV in installed to capture criminal activity, the footage quality should be of sufficient quality so that the authorities can identify the recorded person’s identity and the footage should be available when requested for such a purpose.
- CCTV footage must be securely stored and encrypted wherever possible.
- Individuals have the right to request a copy of any CCTV footage in which they are in focus and/or clearly identifiable. If the request is valid and permissible, the organisation must supply the aforementioned footage within 30 days of the request validation.
Do I need to have CCTV signs?
No. If you are a homeowner and the CCTV system is intended for domestic use and your cameras are not directed towards public areas or your neighbour’s property, then CCTV signposting is not a requirement. That being said, the mere presence of CCTV warning signage sometimes is enough to act as a deterrent turning away opportunistic burglars.
If that’s not the case, or If you are a business utilising CCTV for commercial purposes, then you need to have the necessary clearly visible signage to inform everyone that CCTV cameras are in operation.
How much does it cost to install CCTV?
As there are multiple options on the market, it’s natural to ask yourself how much it costs to install CCTV in your home or business.
While CCTV installation costs vary greatly, a two-camera CCTV security system that includes professional installation and an annual maintenance and health check plan will cost around £1,500. A CCTV system with one camera will obviously incur lower costs, whereas getting a more advanced system with a more complex network of cameras will increase the costs accordingly.
Many property owners may opt to install the CCTV system themselves mistakenly thinking that this will save them some money. A DIY CCTV system or any security system for that matter, has a much higher chance of failing or malfunctioning or simply being installed the wrong way with misplaced cameras. CCTV installation is an intricate operation that requires the expertise and skills of an experienced security professional. Finally, any DIY-installed security system is not covered under any insurance provider and it can void your insurance policy ending up costing you a lot more than a professional installation that will also ensure the proper operation of your system.
At Banham, we offer free and no obligations onsite surveys during which, one of our highly-skilled surveyors will consult you on choosing the best CCTV system for your needs. We offer completely bespoke systems that feature from 1 up to 64 cameras depending on the requirements of your property. We also offer monitoring and maintenance plans to ensure the faultless function of your CCTV system as well as monitoring any potentially threatening activity and notifying the corresponding authorities in emergency situations.