CCTV – What Are the Regulations?

We are often asked what the regulations and laws are regarding CCTV footage in nightclubs and bars in the UK. Specialist Insurance Brokers NDML have answered the most frequently asked questions around venue surveillance and closed-circuit security. It’s a legal requirement for venue owners to know specifically how long CCTV footage must be kept, and what the regulations are regarding storage and proper usage.

But first, where is the evidence to show CCTV works?

The statistics show that CCTV has become a cultural normality for society.

– Six crimes a day are solved by CCTV in London alone (Metropolitan Police)
– Where CCTV was present, UK cities experienced a 10% decrease in crime (College of Policing)
– The average Briton is caught on camera 70 times a day (ACPO)
– There are estimated to be over 5million CCTV cameras in the UK (British Security Industry Association)
– 81% of adults saw CCTV as a positive tool in the fight against crime (YouGov)

What are the laws regarding CCTV footage?

The Data Protection Act (1998) is a law which applies to the storage of information. It is designed to prevent the misuse of personal information by placing legal obligations on anybody who handles it. The Data Protection Act laws provide a means of regulatory control on the use of CCTV. This ensures that individuals may enjoy security whilst being assured that rights to personal privacy will not be unduly compromised.

Any business that keeps records of customers’ details, or uses a CCTV system, may need to register with the Information Commissioner.

The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice set out by the Home Office in 2013 states what should be recorded. It centres around using the camera in a responsible way. Every camera should have a stated purpose. That purpose will be identified through the Operational Requirement process:

  • Why the camera is there.
    What the camera is recording.
  • What will be done with the recorded images.

What is the recommended retention time for CCTV footage?

A retention time of 31 days has commonly been used for most CCTV facilities – this is the time frame recommended by the police force.

There appears to be a misconception that the Home Office states that 30 days is mandatory. This is not true. If the events captured are likely to be less serious in nature, or “one-off” incidents, a minimum retention time of 14 days is recommended as this provides sufficient time for the authorities to attend the scene and retrieve the video in the event of an incident. It may be appropriate to make your decision on the retention times according to the likely severity of the incident that requires monitoring. It may not always be necessary for the owners of a small premises to retain all data for 31 days. This also respects the advice of the Information Commissioner that data should not be retained for longer than necessary.

A town centre venue that may capture details of a serious crime or major incident should definitely retain all footage for 31 days, if not longer. In the event of a major incident it may prove valuable to the police to be able to review the video of the days, hours and minutes prior to the event as well as of the event itself. We recommend copying any relevant CCTV footage onto a separate tape or disc. Your customers can put forward claim proceedings for a period of three years after the alleged incident. So having CCTV footage will help to discredit any allegations made against your business at a later date.

What are the benefits of having CCTV at a venue?

From an insurance perspective, CCTV can certainly help in defending claims from patrons who say they have slipped and tripped or claim they have been assaulted in your venue. Many of these types of claims may well be spurious either wholly or in part. The process of retaining CCTV footage of incidents will prove to be invaluable.

In addition, CCTV can act as a good deterrent against theft and fraud. CCTV coverage can help to make sure your venue does not become a target for organised criminals. CCTV cameras and signage should result in a significant drop in crime and misbehaviour.

Do you want to learn more about the regulations and laws surrounding CCTV? NDML have put together a whitepaper on the

  • The rules and regulations surrounding CCTV.
  • CCTV and GDPR.
  • The business benefits of CCTV.

Download now to become the ultimate expert in CCTV for your venue.