Investing in a CCTV system is a no-brainer but one must be well-versed with the legalities of installing one as well.
Over the years, a growing number of individuals have started to invest in CCTV systems for their homes, and all for good reason. CCTV cameras have proven to be one of the most effective deterrents for burglars, providing comprehensive home security and safety for the residents.
The footage provided by the system helps keep a check on all the activity at the property, as well as help identify any suspicious activity such as potential intruders or burglars trying to sneak into your home.
In addition to deterring crime, CCTV cameras help provide evidence by identifying suspects of a crime, resulting in a higher chance of the perpetrators getting caught.
Home CCTV cameras can be used for much more than just the protection of your property. They also allow you to monitor and check in on your family members while you’re away. This can be especially beneficial if you have children to look after or if elderly people are residing with you.
Again, while there is no denying that CCTV cameras are a smart investment in making your home more secure, there are certain laws and regulations that need to be adhered to, specifically concerning recording images and videos.
Let’s look at the laws and regulations governing the usage of CCTV cameras at homes in the UK.
HOME CCTV LAWS AND REGULATIONS
Everyone has the right to secure their property by all lawful means necessary. If you are a homeowner wanting to increase your home security, you must invest in security systems such as CCTV cameras to keep a watchful eye over your home.
As also defined by the law, a CCTV system entails the usage of cameras, and recording and storage devices, where images and videos are recorded and saved to be seen by the owners of the system or anyone responsible for monitoring it.
Here are five key points to note:
- As long as the camera records footage within the boundary of your home, including the front porch and garden, the CCTV laws and regulations will not apply to you.
- However, if you intend to record images and videos of areas outside the boundary of your private domestic property, for instance, the neighbour’s yard or the street, you will have to abide by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA18).
- All homeowners need to ensure that their CCTV systems comply with the laws and guidelines laid out by the GDPR and DPA, since the inability to do so may subject them to appropriate legal action by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
- According to the data protection laws, all home CCTV owners are to use the system responsibly, ensuring and protecting other people’s privacy. The laws also give individuals the right to see the information held about them, which includes CCTV recordings.
- Due to the potential breach of privacy by capturing footage beyond the homeowner’s property, the ICO receives many complaints from people, including neighbours, who are legitimately concerned about the CCTV systems being used to spy on them.
This raises a huge issue where one’s safety and security make the other person feel unsafe and uncomfortable. To avoid that from happening, there are a few guidelines that homeowners can follow if they wish to install CCTV cameras on their property.
DATA PROTECTION LAWS
Homeowners must adhere to these legal requirements to reap the full benefits of CCTV security systems and not make them a nuisance for others:
- Think about why you need a CCTV system on your premises because there must be a valid reason for you to have one, such as serious security and safety threats.
- CCTV cameras must be privacy-friendly. They must be positioned in such a way as to respect other people’s privacy. If the areas under surveillance are part of a shared space or the neighbour’s property, the intrusion must be minimized by using privacy masking and filters.
- You must register yourself as a CCTV operator with the ICO if you wish to operate CCTV cameras outside of your property without using privacy masking and filters.
- Your usage of CCTV cameras must be as transparent as possible to the people around. Neighbours must be informed and a clear sign must be put up informing people that the area is under surveillance.
- Audio recording is a huge invasion of privacy and is largely discouraged. Therefore, it must be disabled on all home CCTV systems.
- You must take full responsibility for your CCTV system and its recordings, ensuring that the information is not used for any purpose other than security.
- The date and time on the system must be properly set and all recordings must be deleted once they are no longer required, preferably within 31 days, unless the security footage is being used as evidence for an ongoing investigation.
- A huge part of the data protection laws involves granting individuals being recorded access to the CCTV footage. You, as a home CCTV owner, need to be aware of their rights and must uphold them whenever they wish to exercise said rights.
- All CCTV systems must be regularly maintained to ensure that they comply with the GDPR and DPA.
RIGHTS OF PEOPLE BEING FILMED
The data protection laws give several rights to people being filmed on someone’s domestic CCTV systems that capture footage of areas outside their personal property. They are:
- To be informed about being under surveillance. The most common way of doing this is through clear signs being put up in the area.
- To ask for footage where they are identifiable. They can make a subject access request, after which the CCTV user has one month to provide them with the footage. However, if the homeowners regularly delete their footage, then this might not be possible.
- To ask the CCTV owners to delete any personal information they might have about them, which includes images and video footage.
If an individual is unhappy and uncomfortable with the way a home CCTV owner is using their system, they can take up their complaint with the ICO where legal action would be taken against the CCTV users if they are not following the laws and regulations laid out for them.
COMPLIANT HOME CCTV INSTALLATION
The correct installation of a home CCTV system is just as crucial as its proper usage. All CCTV installations must comply with the UK CCTV legislation laid out by the DPA.
One of the best ways to ensure compliance with the law is to have your home CCTV system installed by a reputable security company.
At Calder Security, we understand the importance of quality installations so that the fittings do not become loose, knocking the system out of position.
We are specialists in the security industry since 1976 and supply only high-quality home CCTV equipment by trusted brands such as Hikvision, one of the world’s leading CCTV manufacturers.
We supply both analogue HD and IP systems and can advise you on which system would be most appropriate for your home.
One of the most important aspects of owning a CCTV system is knowing how to use it properly. It’s one of the laws of the UK CCTV legislation. Therefore, it is crucial to be well-informed and trained on how to operate your home CCTV.
Our expert installers make sure that you are comfortable and know the ins and outs of the system before leaving. They are always available on call and can also pay a visit to help you with any further clarifications.
You can’t just install a CCTV system and forget about it. Just as with every electronic system out there, a home CCTV system requires regular maintenance.
To ensure that you are complying with the home CCTV laws and regulations about capturing footage outside of your home, you must have a professional security company regularly service the system and run maintenance checks.
It is crucial to regularly check the positioning of the CCTV camera to make sure it is fitted properly and isn’t intruding on other people’s privacy.
As mentioned in the DPA, the recorded footage must be deleted within a certain number of days. Regular servicing ensures that the deletion is taking place as per the schedule and the recordings are not kept for longer than is necessary.
It is also important to keep the system clean since intrusions such as dirt and debris can affect the way CCTV works, causing them to malfunction at times.
We recommend that home CCTV systems are serviced every year to keep them working at optimum performance. Even if the system seems to be working fine, regular checks help with the early detection of potential issues and the system gets all the necessary adjustments as well as a good clean to keep it working well.
During a home CCTV maintenance visit, our expert team at Calder Security would 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).
CHOOSING THE BEST HOME CCTV CAMERA
Since there are certain laws and regulations for home CCTV systems, and homeowners must invest in one only if they have a valid reason to, it just makes more sense to choose the best system that provides them with the best security and top compliance with the law.
Having a CCTV system that doesn’t fit well with the security requirements can turn out to be a nuisance for all rather than being something to rely on for safety and security.
All home CCTV systems work on the same principle: using cameras and monitors to record events happening around the premises and displaying them in real-time for surveillance purposes.
Choosing the best one for your home can be quite a challenge considering the wide variety of options to choose from.
Here are a few things to look at before deciding on the best CCTV camera for your home:
The first thing that you need to consider before investing in a CCTV system is why you need it and where you intend to place it.
If it is for indoor use only, you do not have to worry about the DPA since you’re operating the cameras on your personal property without any intrusion of others privacy.
If used for the outdoors, special care must be taken if the system records areas outside of your boundary wall. This includes video-equipped doorbell devices too.
Indoor and outdoor cameras are both effective when used as a monitoring system with the primary distinction being the external factors, such as extreme weather conditions that the outdoor camera can withstand.
Outdoor cameras are made using more durable material since they are also prone to tampering, while indoor systems are smaller, lighter, and generally simpler.
- Installation positions
Positioning the CCTV cameras in the correct places and angles is necessary for two reasons:
- to ensure the camera doesn’t intrude on other people’s privacy by recording areas such as the neighbour’s yard, and
- there is a risk of a break-in, there are valuables in the premises, or there are family members who need to be monitored, such as the kids and the elderly.
Typically, all the entry points of a house must be covered, including the front, back, and side doors and windows. Other outdoor areas that might need CCTV cameras are the driveway, shed, and other storage areas.
- Camera quality and resolution
Home CCTV cameras come in a range of resolutions ranging from 720p to 4K. The higher the resolution, the clearer the picture.
It’s no use if the footage being recorded on the CCTV camera is grainy to the point that making up the face of an intruder becomes a challenge; therefore, a minimum resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels is recommended.
- Power supply and battery
Wired CCTV systems work on direct electricity while the wireless version runs on batteries. Both are prone to stop working in the event of a power outage or battery failure.
Backup batteries are crucial for both systems, giving you confidence that your CCTV would be running at all times, and is a feature that’s worth considering.
- Additional features
There are additional, very handy features such as night vision mode, speaker function, and facial recognition that can take CCTV monitoring up a notch.
Night vision mode is a very useful add-on that helps the CCTV camera record footage at night. Speakers can be used to communicate via the camera, such as giving an intruder a warning and possibly scaring them away.
Some CCTV cameras also offer pan/tilt/swivel features where you can remotely move the camera for the best monitoring angles. However, special care must be taken that the camera isn’t moved at an angle that invades other’s privacy.
Your budget is a huge deciding factor when it comes to choosing a CCTV camera for your home, but the good news is that CCTV systems are becoming affordable by the day, offering top-notch quality at great prices.
For instance, High Definition (HD) analogue cameras have tremendously increased their resolution and picture quality, offering the perfect balance of convenience and quality for homeowners, giving their more expensive digital counterparts a serious run for their money.
CALL US RIGHT AWAY!
Calder Security offers a comprehensive solution for home CCTV systems that are state-of-the-art and comply with the laws and regulations.
Here’s why you should choose us for your home CCTV needs:
- We can design, supply, and install a range of domestic CCTV systems.
- We offer both analogue HD and IP camera systems and can advise on the best solution for your home.
- We have qualified security specialist engineers to help you every step along the way.
- We are SSAIB approved installers and follow all the best practices in the industry.
- We do not compromise on quality and ensure your utmost safety by installing only high-quality, state-of-the-art CCTV equipment from trusted brands such as Hikvision, one of the world’s leading CCTV manufacturers.
- We’ve been in the security industry since 1976 and are specialists at what we do.
- We provide full training on equipment provided. We won’t just install your CCTV system and leave. We always make sure our customers are comfortable with the equipment and know-how to use it properly.
- You can call us even if you already have a system installed by someone else. We can add additional cameras to your existing systems or reveal vulnerabilities.
- We are experienced in repairing a range of CCTV systems.
- We can recommend and guide you to make improvements to your CCTV systems including better positioning of the cameras.
- We provide timely appointments to our valued customers. We would hate for you to wait.
- We are a Wakefield based company, covering the entire West Yorkshire region and beyond.