Doing CCTV the right way

Deploy CCTV surveillance systems responsibly and ensuring proper safeguards are in place

CCTV surveillance systems, or video surveillance, as it’s becoming more commonly known, is absolutely brilliant technology that enhances your university or college’s security. In the wider community, it has played a major part in making our public spaces safer and is an effective deterrent to criminals.

According to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) “The UK is a leading user of CCTV with the public used to seeing CCTV cameras.” The British public are overall supportive of this type of surveillance, feeling the benefits outweigh the negatives.

However, those that deploy CCTV surveillance systems need to do so responsibly and ensure proper safeguards are in place.

Images and recordings of people are covered by current data protection laws, and from 25th May 2018 by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (EUGDPR). This also includes any information about a subject such as a vehicle registration number that can be gained from an image/recording.

If your business uses CCTV either externally or internally, you must tell people they may be recorded. The simplest way to do this is by displaying clearly visible and readable signs. You need to remember to let the ICO know why you’re using CCTV as well.

Images and recordings of people are covered by current data protection laws, and from 25th May 2018 by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (EUGDPR).

Given that CCTV recordings contain personal data, you should have stringent controls in place to limit who, in your organisation, has access to recordings. You also have a duty to ensure the system is only used for the purpose as was intended.

Have procedures and processes in place around letting people see your CCTV recordings, as anyone can ask to see images that you have recorded of them. If you get such a request you have to respond within 40 days and currently you may charge a maximum of £10 for these. After May 2018 you won’t be able to charge.

The ICO have a code of practice for CCTV, which provides excellent advice and guidance for anyone thinking about using CCTV. The UK has a Surveillance Camera Commissioner (SCC) who also has a code of practice and a very useful guide to the 12 principles of the code, which is accompanied by a guide on the steps to help you move towards compliance with each principle. Whilst the SCC is more concerned with cameras in public places, their guides provide a useful checklist for anyone considering CCTV. Links to these are at the end of this article.

As I said at the start, CCTV or video surveillance is brilliant technology, but only when used responsibly. I’d recommend you use all the available free tools the ICO and SCC offer at the start of any project. This will make sure you comply with all the regulations required, as well as encourage you to think carefully about why you need CCTV or if there are alternatives you could use. Thought should be given to the location of cameras, the number and type of cameras needed, along with the procedures and processes your university or college will need to have in place for the effective management of your system.

AIT are suppliers of CCTV surveillance systems and systems integrators, and if you would like to know more about their services visit the CCTV section of the website by clicking here.

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