CCTV legislation was introduced in the UK in 2012, followed by a Code of Conduct in 2013. CCTV recordings are also covered by the Data Protection Act.
More and more people are investing in CCTV cameras to protect their properties and why not? It’s the sensible thing to do. However, many people are unaware of the various pieces of CCTV legislation and their personal responsibilities under the law.
Guidelines for Domestic CCTV:
Firstly, please be aware that there have been complaints to the police and the ICO from people believing CCTV was used to spy on them, so it’s important to follow UK CCTV legislation guidelines closely.
As the homeowner, you are personally responsible for making sure your CCTV system is installed correctly and you comply with guidelines.
If you are unsure at any time, then please get in touch with your CCTV company.
1. Know why you want CCTV and which specific areas it will monitor
2. Tell your neighbours you are installing CCTV
3. Put at least one notice up, warning there is CCTV on the property
4. Position your CCTV cameras for minimal intrusion, e.g. avoiding a neighbour’s property
5. If you can’t help it, consider using privacy masking
(Privacy masking is technology that ‘blanks’ out sensitive areas on a recording, like a neighbour’s window.)
6. If you operate CCTV outside of the boundary of your property and don’t privacy mask, then you may need to register as a CCTV operator with the Information Commissioner’s Office. Get in touch to check.
7. Do not record conversations between members of the public
8. Do not install CCTV in traditionally private places, such as toilets
9. Don’t keep recordings for longer than you need (31 days is standard)
10. Delete older CCTV recordings regularly
11. Do not use CCTV recordings for any purpose other than protecting your property
12. Do not share any CCTV recordings publicly e.g. on social media sites
13. Keep recordings secure and restrict access to them
14. Make sure you understand exactly how your CCTV system works so you’re not caught out
15. Make sure the date & time are set correctly
16. Make sure you have enough recording space
17. Check your CCTV system regularly and maintain it (we recommend an annual service)
There are 3 main pieces of CCTV legislation:
– The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
– The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice 2013 (the ‘SCCOP’)
– The Data Protection Act (the ‘DPA’)
The Information Commissioner’s Office, or ‘ICO’ is responsible for enforcing this legislation.
The SCCOP legislation is designed to balance the need for CCTV cameras with the public’s right to privacy. Some of the SCCOP only applies to CCTV for commercial use.
The DPA legislation gives individuals the right to see information held about them, including CCTV recordings.
If you have residential CCTV, you are NOT affected by the DPA, unless your cameras are set up to record beyond the boundary of your property (e.g. the pavement)