CCTV Rules for Businesses

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CCTV can be put in place for many reasons; the most common reason is security surveillance but it’s becoming more commonplace when employers want to comply with health and safety regulations. There are rules that need to be considered before you start down the CCTV route.

Firstly, you need to think about why your business needs CCTV because you will need this reason, later on, to comply with certain legislation.

Why would I need a CCTV system?

The main reasons for putting CCTV in the workplace include:

  • To keep employees safe and secure by preventing violence or theft
  • To prevent stealing, deliberate damage or other misconduct
  • To ensure and record that health and safety procedures are being followed
  • To monitor and improve productivity
  • In some industries, such as financial services it is also expected so you comply with regulatory requirements.
  • What are the rules of CCTV?

CCTV is filming other people and as such, there are a few rules you need to abide by, no matter the reason you have for your surveillance.

The Data Protection Act instructs you to do 4 things. You must:

  1. Put up a sign to let people know CCTV is being used and why (it must be clearly visible and easily readable)
  2. Be able to provide images within 40 days to anyone you’ve recorded (you can charge up to £10 for this)
  3. Share images with the authorities, e.g. the police, if they ask for them
  4. Keep images only as long as your business needs them.

(Extracted from Gov.uk website, view original source )

Additionally, you must notify the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as to why you’re using the CCTV which is subjected to a fee. Remember, if you set up a system to survey any criminal activities you can’t then use it to “catch your staff out” unless of course, you specify.

Notify ICO here.

“Secret recording”

A lot of people may think, well, if I put signs up then I will never catch the culprit but “secret” recording should be discouraged unless in extreme circumstances such as to help prevent injury or a serious crime. It should also be for a specific timeframe and area so as to restrict the impact on innocent parties.

It would be strongly recommended that you consult a solicitor who is a specialist in employment law before you carry out secret recording.

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