Harry Solutions Ltd

Is CCTV Legal and what are the rules?

Law on CCTV

Thinking of CCTV for your home or business but unsure on the rules?

Here at Harry Solutions we've been installing CCTV for many years, one of the most common topics that our customers ask when we install or quote for CCTV is around the legality or rules of having a security system installed. 

Whether its "Do I need to display Signage?" or "What happens if my CCTV overlooks onto my neighbours house?" 

We thought it was about time we got some answers from an expert! In this video we meet with Sian Darlington who's a criminal lawyer from Gunnercooke LLP, Manchester. 
The main questions we asked Sian were:

Do I need permission from my local authority or council to install CCTV?

Sian Said "You don't need permission to install CCTV itself (although) the rules for domestic and commercial are slightly different. The issue with CCTV is one of data protection and potential for (a security system) to catch images of other people or recordings of other people. But for the purpose of installing CCTV there is no need for permission, the only exception being if your building is listed or rented"

Can my CCTV overlook onto public or someone’s private property?

Sian said "There are no rules that say you cant have your camera pointing onto spaces other than your own property boundary, whether that be next door neighbours or public space in front of your house. Technically if you are capturing images of other people then you are falling within the data protection act which means you have to comply with those (rules). Those obligations (include) displaying a sign saying you are recording CCTV images and (upon request) providing copies of footage that contain a particular person"

Sian also went on to say "This is one thing people might get themselves into trouble with.. Don't post recordings on social media sites like Facebook because that's when you really start to fall foul of the data protection law"

Do my neighbours have a legal right to see where my cameras are pointing?

Sian Said "They have an absolute right to object but ultimately they don't have the right to demand that you remove your CCTV or that it can't point in a certain way. 

Do I legally need to install signage that make people aware CCTV is installed?

Yes, if your CCTV covers areas of public space or has the ability to capture members of the public then you should display signage. 

Sian said "In terms of signage it's just making the point that there is CCTV in operation and you will have seen those signs around commercial premises just to inform people (about the CCTV) and then you've complied with your obligation under the act"

Are there different rules for commercial vs domestic properties?

"A commercial premises going to be capturing a lot more images than a domestic property, again there is no requirement to get permission to install the CCTV but there is a requirement to register with the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) and prepare a privacy impact assessment which will need to be filed"

Sian made it clear that the ICO would be reluctant to interfere with domestic properties however the same reluctance isn't held with commercial property. As a businesses if you break the rules you are likely to face a heavy fine. 

More information can be found here -

Should my employer legally let me know if they are recording audio in my place of work?

Yes, your employer should be disclosing details of how they store, view and record CCTV in your workplace. Often you will find details of this within your employment contract or employee's handbook. Installation and usage of CCTV should be justifiable, using CCTV to spy or capture covert evidence isn't an acceptable reason to have it installed.  

Sian said "If an employer is recording an employee, that employee should've given their consent for that. There are some places where recordings are a no no i.e. bathrooms and places like that. The question of covert recording (recording without someones knowledge) is a break of data protection and also an employer would not be able to use this as evidence in a disciplinary hearing"

What will happen if we break the rules on CCTV?

Although rare within the domestic environments the ICO will more than likely follow their own process of contacting you via post asking you to cease activity that breaches their rules, failing to action this could result in a fine. 

On the other hand the ICO are not as lenient with businesses misusing their rules and are more likely to peruse financial punishment as a result of a breach. 

The ISO have powers to issue notices telling you not to do something (that is breaching their rules) and ultimately they can fine you, they have quite extensive fining powers.
Harry Solutions provide the latest CCTV systems for domestic and commercial premises. We can offer advice and guidance to ensure you have the most appropriate system to give you ultimate security and peace of mind.

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