CCTV – The Camera Never Lies

In a society gripped by the ‘no win, no fee’ culture, CCTV systems are becoming a more common feature in licensed premises. If you are considering CCTV for your property it is worth noting the following advice, often overlooked by club personnel.

The law that applies to the storage of information is The Data Protection Act (1998), intended to prevent the misuse of personal information. The Data Protection Act provides a means of regulatory control of the use of CCTV; ensuring individual’s safety and possessions are duly protected, whilst not compromising their rights to personal privacy.

The facts

  • Any business that keeps records of customers’ details or uses a CCTV system may need to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
  • If you operate a CCTV system, customers must be made aware; the most common way of doing this is by sign. Signs must be clearly visible, readable and include details of the organisation operating the system
  • CCTV should only be operated in public spaces, only in extenuating circumstances can cameras be installed in private locations e.g. toilets or changing rooms – once again signs must be used to alert all relevant people
  • Conversations between members of the public should not be recorded
  • The general public has the right to see/request a copy of CCTV footage – this is called a ‘Subject Access Request’. The person requesting the footage must write to the public authority in the first instance, who must respond within 20 working days. You will then be asked to provide the information within 40 calendar days
  • CCTV operators are not allowed to disclose images of identifiable people to the media, on the internet or for entertainment purposes. Images released to the media must be disclosed by the police
  • Legal obligations are placed on anybody who handles CCTV footage

Your responsibilities

  • Make sure someone in the organisation has responsibility for the CCTV images, deciding what is recorded, how images should be used and who they should be disclosed to;
  • Register with the Information Commissioner’s Office
  • Have clear procedures on how to use the system and when to disclose information; and
  • Make regular checks to ensure the procedures are followed

How long must CCTV footage be kept?

The ICO suggest that all organisations operate their own individual retention policy. They recommend keeping the images for as long as is deemed necessary to meet the purpose of recording, however most local police authorities recommend a retention time of 14 -31 days minimum.

In the event of an incident, it is advised to keep the footage for longer based on the severity – If the incident is labelled ‘major’ the police are likely to request footage from previous days/hours/minutes, as well as of the event itself.

CCTV – Insurance benefits

From an insurance perspective, CCTV is certainly advantageous in defending claims from patrons, including slips and trips, abuse and grievance – many of these types of claims may well be spurious, either wholly or in part. The process of retaining CCTV footage can prove invaluable when seeking to discredit any allegations made against your business at a later date. Club Insure recommend copying any footage of such incidents onto a separate tape/disc as customers can put forward claim proceedings for a period for 3 years after the alleged incident.

In addition, CCTV can act as a good deterrent against theft and fraud by unscrupulous customers and staff alike. With the levels of credit and debit card fraud on the increase, good CCTV coverage can greatly assist in ensuring your venue does not become a target for any organised or opportunist criminals.

Finally, CCTV coverage in your venue can also assist in encouraging staff to work in a more efficient manner; reducing wastage and highlighting areas of concern.

For further information, to arrange a confidential face to face review or to speak to one of our experts – simply fill out the contact form or call 0344 488 9204.