If you have a business with a premises, you want to protect it as much as you can. The very first thing most business owners do here is install a CCTV system, so that they can keep an eye on their entire workplace at once in real time. But we’re here to tell you that it isn’t as simple as putting some cameras up and calling it a day. There’s a bit more work you need to do before you can start recording with those cameras – and that’s writing up a policy.
What Is A CCTV Policy?
A CCTV policy really does what it says on the tin. It’s the set of written guidelines that explains what your CCTV system is, where it is installed and how and why it’s used within your business. This isn’t a one page document, as it needs to detail what kind of CCTV is being set up, where it’s being set up and why it is being set up in that area. It should also inform employees that their actions while at work will be recorded, and that visitors will need to be made aware of this too. Some of this can be done by putting up signs notifying people of CCTV cameras, but you will need a written policy as well. And yes, we know that’s a lot of extra paperwork, but there is a good reason for it.
Why Do Businesses Need CCTV Policies?
We know you’re expecting a big list of reasons to come here, and while there are a few, there really is only one. If you are running a CCTV system and you don’t have a written CCTV policy in place, then you are breaking the law. That’s because any and all surveillance done outside of someone’s private property falls automatically under GDPR, which was passed in 2018. Those rules are in place to make sure your CCTV systems are following the law and aren’t being used for nefarious purposes. A few of the rules your CCTV system needs to follow include:
- Employers must register with the ICO (The Information Commissioner’s Office) as data controllers, and explain why they use CCTV at the business premises.
- Any CCTV footage taken cannot be legally used for anything else.
- Everyone who works on the premises should know they are being recorded.
- CCTV cameras cannot be placed in private areas of the workplace where employees would expect to be left alone (for example bathrooms and changing rooms).
There’s also another downside to not having a CCTV policy in place. Even if you do capture evidence of a break in, assault or any other crime on your CCTV cameras, not having a CCTV policy in place will make it completely unusable in court. So not only are you risking a huge amount of money, but also your business and potentially other people’s lives.
What Happens If I Don’t Have A CCTV Policy In Place?
Simple. As we mentioned earlier, you’re not following GDPR, which means you have broken the law. GDPR might have started as a European regulation, but our government wrote it into UK law, so even though we are no longer part of the EU, it still applies. If you’re using CCTV without a policy in place then you as a data controller could be fined up to £500,000 if you’re caught. Not to mention the fact that you may not be able to actually use any of your footage in court without one.
That’s why CCTV policies are just one of the things we talk about when we’re working with companies on installing their new security systems. At Securifix we specialise in helping businesses get the right level of coverage to protect their business, without leaving any holes that a burglar could exploit. If you want to know more about CCTV cameras (and CCTV policies), all you have to do is get in touch with the team at Securifix today, and we’ll be happy to help.