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CCTV & the Law

CCTV Camera Loz IconCCTV can be a great deterrent. A building or an area with CCTV installed becomes a less attractive target if an offender is aware that his or her actions may be recorded.

Take great care when choosing the camera, the lens and the location. Always seek the advice of your crime prevention adviser before going ahead and consider a professional installation instead of doing it yourself.

For advice on how to get the most out of your CCTV you should read:  Police Advice for Digital CCTV [175kb]

Using CCTV On Your Property

An individual has the right to protect their property and this can be done by using a CCTV system where it is necessary, such as a security measure.

However, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner recommends that users of CCTV systems should operate them in a responsible way to respect the privacy of others.

For advice on how to use CCTV on your own domestic property, please read the following helpful leaflet:  Private Residential CCTV Advice from the Information Commissioner's Office [101kb]

Key Points:

  • CCTV should not be used as a substitute for other crime prevention methods.
  • If your CCTV system covers even partially any areas beyond the boundaries of your property, such as neighbouring gardens or the street, then it will no longer be exempt from Data Protection Act.
  • CCTV systems filming even limited views of a public space are required to register with the Information Commissioner's Office and will be subject to a number of requirements such as the use of specific signage.

For more advice on what this means for you and what you should do to make sure that you operate your system legally, please visit the Information Commissioner's website.

Using CCTV at a Commercial Property

You can use CCTV to protect your property but you must follow the Data Protection Act.

It is recommended that you fill out the following checklist (annually) to ensure that you are in compliance with the Data Protection Act CCTV Small User Checklist [1Mb]

Failure to comply with the Data Protection Act may result in action being taken under the Act. It may also affect Staffordshire Police's ability to use your CCTV images to investigate a crime.

You must:

  • put up a sign to let people know CCTV is being used and why
  • be able to provide images within 40 days to anyone you've recorded (you can charge up to £10 for this)
  • share images with the authorities, eg the police, if they ask for them
  • keep images only as long as your business needs them

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has guidance on how to use CCTV cameras and storing images.

For a full Crime Prevention Risk Assessment, please consult:  Commercial Security Assessment [1Mb].