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Using CCTV for workplace monitoring Laws, drawbacks, advantages

CCTV cameras are becoming a fairly common sight with quite a few private properties, including workplaces, deploying the surveillance systems to protect both the company and their employees.

In recent years, they have gained immense popularity and are considered one of the best security measures against crime and other illegal activities.

CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) camera systems, also known as video surveillance, use one or more security cameras to record and transmit images and videos over a network allowing you to keep an eye on what’s happening around the premises.

Read on to find out the advantages and risks of using CCTV cameras in the workplace, along with the CCTV monitoring laws that every business in the UK must follow to protect the privacy of those being monitored:

ADVANTAGES OF WORKPLACE CCTV MONITORING

Smile, you’re on camera! The mere mention of you being recorded on camera is enough to make you conscious, isn’t it? The same goes for criminals and mischief mongers looking to target workplaces for theft, vandalism, and violence.

CCTV monitoring uses advanced technology to not just help businesses protect their assets but also work towards a sense of safety and security, resulting in a more comfortable and productive environment.

There are several benefits of CCTV monitoring in workplaces that include:

Reduced theft and other crime

Workplaces are commonly targeted for crimes such as break-ins, theft, vandalism, and other serious offences with up to 3.8 million incidents of reported business crime each year.

By installing CCTV monitoring systems in strategic locations throughout the workplace, you can help prevent such incidents from happening.

Video surveillance not just helps reduce external threats but also internal threats where the employees are the ones responsible for theft and anti-social behaviour.

Real-time video surveillance

What’s better than being able to keep an eye on your workplace without having to be physically present there?

Thanks to technological advancements, video surveillance methods allow business owners to access real-time footage whenever and wherever they are using a mobile phone, laptop, or tablet.

Employers can monitor employees and keep a check on the daily business operations, as they are happening, and always stay informed and on top of things at the workplace.

Useful criminal evidence

CCTV monitoring not only deters crime but is also exceptionally useful if a crime is committed within the workplace.

The recorded CCTV footage can be used to spot and identify the perpetrators, and can also be used as legitimate evidence in the court of law.

This great feature of CCTV monitoring is what makes them so effective as a crime deterrent since getting identified and caught is something that no criminal wishes for.

Employee productivity

Your employees are the backbone of your business which is why keeping them safe and protected within the workplace should be your number one priority.

Knowing that they are being looked after will make them feel more comfortable and productive, which is beneficial for you in the long run.

It is also proven that employees work the hardest when they are being monitored by someone. Therefore, you can keep a check on your employees using CCTV cameras to see if they are sleeping on the job or wasting time doing unnecessary stuff.

Resolve workplace disputes

Regardless of the type of workplace you have, disputes are bound to happen and it is your responsibility, as the business owner or manager, to resolve them before they get out of control.

These disputes could be between employees and managers, employees and clients, or among the employees themselves.

In such cases, you need to figure out what exactly happened in order for you to make an informed decision. However, at times, this isn’t possible and you are simply left with personal accounts of the people involved, which can sometimes be biased and untrue.

CCTV cameras, with their recorded footage, provide adequate proof in such cases and help mediate the issue providing a fair resolution without having to rely on personal testaments.

Put a stop to sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a serious issue in workplaces all around the world with over 60% of women in the UK having experienced it in some form.

It has severe negative effects on the victims resulting in mental and physical health issues and lower confidence and morale at work.

CCTV monitoring not only deters such offenders but also ensures that their despicable actions are caught on camera so that they can be reprimanded for them and, if need be, the recorded footage can be used as legal evidence against them in case of litigation.

Cut down security-related costs

In addition to providing safety and security, CCTV monitoring also offers reduced costs when compared with traditional security measures such as employing security guards and extra staff to monitor activity around the workplace.

CCTV cameras are not just a cheaper alternative but are also much more efficient and fool-proof when it comes to providing 100% security coverage, and that too 24/7.

Advanced systems allow you to benefit from great features such as remote monitoring, night vision, facial recognition, and one-way or two-way communication.

Monitor high-risk areas

For high-risk areas in the workplace where human access is fairly limited, CCTV monitoring can be used to avoid having someone physically watch over the area.

Remote monitoring allows you to see the areas in real-time without having to risk someone’s safety and wellbeing.

CCTV cameras can also be placed in areas of the workplace that are accident-prone so that the activity in said areas can be constantly monitored and safety measures can immediately be put into effect in the event of a mishap.

DRAWBACKS OF WORKPLACE CCTV MONITORING

While CCTV monitoring is a great tool for ensuring safety and security within the workplace, there are a few risks that employers must consider.

Privacy concerns

While video surveillance is one of the most effective security measures trusted by millions of people around the world, if employers are not careful with how they use CCTV cameras, it can go a little too far and invade employees’ privacy making them feel like they are not trusted or being spied on.

Such extreme surveillance might do you more harm than good and could prove to be a hindrance to employee productivity, leading them to feel trapped in their workplaces.

In addition to that, there are surveillance laws that every business must follow which call for transparency in their use of CCTV cameras and respecting their employees’ right to privacy.

Increased stress levels

Workplaces can be highly competitive and stressful with strict deadlines and never-ending tasks. To top that off, being constantly monitored via CCTV cameras may add to the stress and anxiety causing employees to always worry about whether their supervisor thinks they’re working hard enough or not.

Over time, this could lead to decreased productivity with employees feeling like they are constantly being judged over every action. It could also result in employees leaving their jobs resulting in an increase in employee turnover, which is always bad news for a business.

Costs

Installing CCTV cameras in your workplace doesn’t come cheap, and the more advanced and complex the system is, the higher the price will be.

However, when you think of it, you can’t really put a price on safety and security and, in our opinion, the benefits greatly outweigh the costs.

What’s great is that with the increase in demand for CCTV cameras the world over, the prices for the systems have dropped significantly making them more affordable than ever with several options available in the market suited to each workplace and budget.

CCTV MONITORING LAWS FOR THE WORKPLACE

While all businesses are allowed to use CCTV monitoring within their workplaces, three key areas must be kept into serious consideration:

  • The employers must not act in a way to destroy or damage the mutual trust between them and their employees,
  • The data protection laws must be followed, which regulate how the recorded footage may be used and processed, and
  • Employers must respect the employees’ right to privacy by making sure the CCTV monitoring is not intrusive.

Under CCTV laws, employers are allowed to use CCTV monitoring in the workplace if they have a legitimate reason for doing so. These reasons could be employee safety, crime prevention, preventing employee misconduct, ensuring compliance with health and safety procedures, and so on.

To avoid legal issues, it is best to make CCTV monitoring as transparent as possible which is why employers must always consult with the employees beforehand and let them know that the workplace will be under video surveillance and why it is being introduced, how the monitoring will take place, the nature of the monitoring, how the recorded footage will be used, and how their privacy will be protected.

Employees must be given the opportunity to voice their opinions and raise their concerns if any, after which a written CCTV policy document must be prepared and explained to everyone involved.

For clients, customers, and visitors, it is best to put up clear signage stating that the area is under CCTV surveillance so that whoever enters knows that they are being recorded and monitored.

There must be a clear policy stating how long the recorded footage will be kept, which must be in line with the purpose of using CCTV monitoring.

Generally, 31 days is the time that most CCTV users keep their recorded footage and it is also recommended by the police.

However, this duration may be adjusted, for instance, for smaller low-risk properties, the retention time may be brought down to 14 days instead of the recommended 31 days.

14 days is ample time for the authorities to retrieve the video in the event of an incident. It is also mentioned in the Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) CCTV code of practice that data should not be retained for longer than necessary.

Clear responsibilities and procedures must be established and all aspects of data control must be documented ensuring that the recorded data is only accessed by authorised individuals.

Anyone caught on camera has the right to see the footage by submitting a formal request to the data controller, who must respond within one month of the request and provide access to the footage.

Employers are, under no circumstances, allowed to monitor employees and other individuals in private places such as toilets.

The consequences of breaking these laws are very severe leading to criminal charges and the business owners or employers facing huge fines of up to £500,000.

In addition to jail time and fines, businesses might end up losing employee and client trust since using recording equipment without their knowledge is a serious invasion of privacy.

CHOOSING THE BEST CCTV CAMERA FOR WORKPLACE MONITORING

CCTV monitoring is an effective security tool used across several applications around the world. However, the effectiveness of the surveillance system comes down to choosing the best CCTV system for your needs.

With the market flooded with so many options claiming to be the best option for you and your security needs, it can be rather overwhelming to choose the right one for your workplace.

Instead of starting with the product catalogues, you need to start by assessing your requirements and determining the security issues that your workplace faces, or is likely to face, and the areas and assets that need to be protected.

Once that is done, you need to define the capabilities and features that you require from the CCTV system in order to meet your requirements.

A few questions that may help you list down your desired features are:

  • How big is the area that needs to be monitored?
  • How much detail should be provided/How clear must the footage be?
  • What conditions will the cameras have to function under? (natural lighting, night time, outdoors, complete darkness?)

Some of the useful features that you may want to consider when choosing the best CCTV camera for your workplace include motion sensors, notification alerts, high-resolution, night vision, wide field of view, ample storage, built-in alarms, professional monitoring, facial recognition, and integration with other security systems.

Some of the most popular types of CCTV cameras for workplace monitoring include:

  • Bullet CCTV cameras
  • Dome CCTV cameras
  • C-mount CCTV cameras
  • PTZ pan/tilt/zoom cameras
  • Day/night CCTV cameras
  • Infrared/night vision CCTV cameras
  • Network/IP CCTV cameras
  • Wireless CCTV cameras
  • High-Definition (HD) CCTV cameras

CONTACT CALDER SECURITY

Calder Security offers a comprehensive solution for CCTV cameras that are state-of-the-art and comply with CCTV laws and regulations.

We understand the special security and safety needs of various properties and offer professional installation and design for CCTV systems bespoke to each workplace.

Our expert CCTV services include:

We are expert SSAIB-approved security system installers and supply only high-quality CCTV equipment from trusted brands such as Hikvision, one of the world’s leading CCTV manufacturers.

We supply both analogue HD and IP systems as well as advise you on which system would be most appropriate for your security needs.

Our team of professionals don’t just install the CCTV systems and leave, but also provide full training on the equipment making sure you are comfortable with it and know how to use it properly.

Our CCTV monitoring services ensure that your property is being watched over by professional monitoring staff when it is unoccupied or most vulnerable.

The real advantage of detecting a break-in while it is in progress is the action that can be taken to deal with it, such as notifying the keyholders or alerting the police.

We use only Trusted Remote Video Receiving Centres (RVRC) and offer peace of mind that any incident detected would prompt an appropriate response.

Annual servicing is vital in keeping your CCTV system in good working order. Even if it seems that the system is running fine, the checks and measures involved in a professional service help with the early detection of potential issues.

During a service, we undertake a visual assessment of all equipment, check connections and cabling, clean the cameras, lenses and housing, assess playback and recording quality, and test remote signalling (if applicable).

We also offer CCTV maintenance contracts that include a regularly maintained system by professionals, 24-hour coverage, reduced call-out and labour charges, and a reduction in insurance premiums.

Even well-maintained CCTV systems can develop faults such as loose connections, cameras failing, recording issues, playback not working, or poor-quality images.

If your system fails to record properly, loses clarity of picture, experiences drop out, won’t playback, or faces any other issue, our experienced engineers can diagnose and repair any faults quickly and with minimal disruption.

Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 for a quick consultation with our leading experts right away!

Photo by Rishabh Varshney on Unsplash