Installing CCTV systems around your property is a great method to help deter crime in the area. However, there are rules associated with the setup and application of such technology that you should be aware of in order to stay on the right side of the law.
To help, read this guide by UMIX which details the various residential CCTV laws which are currently enforced across the UK.
GOV.UK states that a CCTV system can be used by individuals where necessary (for example, as a security measure) in order to protect their property.
It does go on to underline though that the Surveillance Camera Commissioner advises that those in possession of CCTV systems always operate them in a responsible fashion and in a manner that respects the privacy of others.
Data Protection legislation
When it refers to Data Protection legislation — i.e. the Data Protection Act 1998 — you are not required to register CCTV installations within domestic premises with the Information Commissioner (previously known as the Data Protection Registrar).
However, an EU ruling made in December 2014 did state that private homeowners who filmed outside of their own property were no longer covered by exemptions to the Data Protection Act.
In other words, you could be in breach of the Act or the UK’s harassment law if you pointed a CCTV camera onto a pavement or road outside of your property. Capturing recordings of a neighbour’s property could also see you breaking the law.
Looking into the amendment, a spokesperson at the ICO acknowledged: “Operators must operate within the law, for instance by making sure that their use and the siting of cameras is well justified, that the information they are collecting is not excessive, that it is only kept until it is no longer required and that it is kept secure.”
If you are installing CCTV around your property, you are responsible for:
- The correct installation of the CCTV system.
- Every piece of information recorded by the technology.
- Ensuring that the information recorded is only for the purpose of protecting your property.
- Understanding exactly how the CCTV system works.
GOV.UK recommends that users of CCTV systems inform their neighbours before installing the technology. Notices should also be put up which clearly inform passersby that recordings are continuously taking place from the cameras.
The storage of recorded information
If you intend to store information that is recorded by your CCTV system, it is necessary to take the following factors into account:
- That the data and time displayed on the system is accurate.
- That there is an adequate amount of recorded space to store the information.
- That all information recorded is being done so only for the intent to which the CCTV system was installed for.
- That any recordings are kept in a secure location and is accessed only when absolutely necessary.
- That information is deleted as soon as it is not being used to protect your property.
Do you have queries about any of the home CCTV laws covered above? Contact us today and our friendly and knowledgeable team members will be happy to assist.