In March 2018, the UK Government’s Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter, propelled another observation technique for both England and Wales. These new directions and regulations will endeavor to adjust the developing worries over rising advancements in technology and privacy with the legitimate requirement for security while out in public areas and spaces.
The government favours the use of CCTV and automatic number plate recognition systems as a crime fighting and public protection tool. It supports the use of overt surveillance in a public place when it is in pursuit of a legitimate aim; necessary to meet a pressing need; and proportionate, effective, and compliant with any relevant legal obligations.
Like the public, the government expects that where CCTV is deployed it is as effective as it can be in meeting its stated purpose and has appropriate privacy safeguards.
Mr Porter added there were also “growing public concerns” about drones – or unmanned aerial vehicles, some of which are equipped with cameras – and the use of body-worn video by police and other agencies. Mr Porter said in his annual report: “The use of surveillance camera systems within domestic environments continues to grow.
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.
A CCTV system to protect a domestic dwelling from acts of crime and anti-social behaviour is now commonplace. Although this seems a reasonable use, there have been a number of complaints to the police, ICO and the SCC from neighbours and other members of the public using pavements in the vicinity who believe that cameras are being used to spy on them and their families.
Below is a short set of considerations to guide you through steps for ensuring that your CCTV security system reduces the risk of intruding on the privacy of others, including neighbours.
Think about the following questions before getting a CCTV system:
It is important to consider the privacy of others while setting up your system. Ask yourself:
You also need to be aware that if your camera(s) captures images outside the confines of your of household, those images are subject to the DPA. Please see the Information Commissioner’s Office website for more information about domestic cameras covering areas other than your own property.
Ensure that you are transparent to those around you when installing your CCTV system. You can do this by:
If you already have a CCTV system installed, you should check that:
Please note that if your camera is pointing directly at a neighbour’s property, you should take steps to reposition it to avoid complaints or in some cases accusations of violation of privacy or harassment.
If you are thinking of installing a CCTV system on your property, you should be aware of your responsibilities:
Ensure you follow the steps below when storing the information you record on your CCTV system:
Once you’ve installed your CCTV system, you should consider the following:
In certain circumstances, the information you record may be used as evidence. You should bear in mind that:
For further reading on the surveillance camera code of practice, please follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/surveillance-camera-code-of-practice