Covert or Overt CCTV?

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Most businesses recognise the need for CCTV as a security measure for those who may attempt to access the property however there is another common use of CCTV. Some businesses want to monitor internal staff or visiting supplies to catch them unawares if they are doing things they shouldn’t be doing.

This is where Covert CCTV comes in. We will take you through the differences between Covert CCTV and Overt CCTV and key things to keep in mind before you take that path.

Covert CCTV

Covert cameras tend to be more discreet by nature and as such can be disguised in every-day objects so that they do not catch people’s attention.

The cameras are usually placed where there is a need for surveillance in a particular location. Quite often in warehouses they are particularly useful if they are placed in the high value or a high-security location. In general retail or offices, they are useful around safes or where sensitive information is kept.

Another reason that some businesses use Covert CCTV is where it used to detect harassment or abuse. We hear about this use more and more these days as a perfect (but heart-breaking) example of its use in care homes or children’s nurseries. It’s there to ensure the protection of the young and the old but ultimately, it’s there to pick up those failings.

We have seen businesses operate covert and overt CCTV systems to ensure that if the overt cameras are disabled, they still have a recording of what has happened.

Unconventionally, you could also use Covert CCTV as a marketing tool. Sounds odd but it works. Many larger retail stores use this type of CCTV to test consumers’ behaviour to certain products or displays to enhance the customer experience.

Overt CCTV

To quote Robert Downey JR, Sherlock Holmes; “It’s so overt, it’s covert.”

That is what springs to mind when you think about Overt CCTV because these days, they are more aesthetically pleasing that they do blend in your environment however, they are still recognisable as the recording devices that they are.

The idea is that overt cameras can act as a deterrent more than anything but sometimes people don’t take note of the particulars of their day-to-day environment.

There is no denying that there is some satisfaction to be had when the perpetrator is caught on camera even with it being distinctly obvious that CCTV is there.

Overt CCTV is pretty much everywhere but the most common uses are in public areas like car park, receptions and hallways.

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Things to consider

We have written a blog on CCTV rules for businesses (See blog) which can highlight the key things you need to know about using CCTV.

The bottom line is that whether you choose covert or overt CCTV, you need to use the recorded material for what it was intended for and not affect anyone’s privacy whilst doing it. For instance, you cannot put CCTV in toilets or locker rooms.

To get a clear picture (no pun intended) it would be best to read our CCTV rules for businesses before you choose whether you are going covert or overt!

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