CCTV in Commercial Properties: Guidelines and Benefits
In 2020/2021, the Commercial Victimisation Survey estimated that 38% of commercial properties fell victim to some form of crime in the UK. When you consider just how many commercial properties there are in the UK, this number is staggering. However, installing a security system can help to keep you and your property out of this percentage, and CCTV systems are one of the most effective tools.
Here at MCFP, we have professional and highly-skilled installers who care about your safety and peace of mind. We specialise in camera systems and many other types of security systems that can help to keep your commercial property clear of crime and vandalism. This blog will run you through the guidelines for correctly and safely installing CCTV in your commercial properties and its many benefits.
CCTV Legislation for commercial properties
CCTV installation on commercial property must adhere to data protection laws in order to avoid fines and breaking the law. This is to ensure that there is regulation on the use of CCTV systems, and that when installed they are being used appropriately and safely. CCTV footage is considered personal data, and as such it must be protected.
Data Protection Act
The Data Protection Act involves regulation of how information and data is used and stored and is the UK’s policy for GDPR. When looking to install a commercial CCTV system, it’s important to register this with the ICO to see whether you need to pay a data protection fee. Take this data protection self assessment to see if your business needs to pay a data protection fee.
Human Right Acts
The Human Rights Act is a UK law that protects the rights of individuals. It requires that any measures that are taken to interfere with an individual’s rights must be justifiable and proportionate. CCTV use in commercial properties is likely to interfere with the right to privacy, so it must be justified and proportionate.
The Protection of Freedoms Act
The Protection of Freedoms Act is a UK Act of Parliament that was passed in 2012. The Act sets out a number of measures designed to protect the privacy of individuals, including creating a code of practice to regulate the use of CCTV cameras in commercial properties and outline how this data and information can be kept secure.
The Freedom of Information Act
The Freedom of Information Act allows members of the public to request information from public authorities controlling regulation around the information and data that is held by them.
Code of Practice for CCTV rules and regulations
- It is a legal obligation to share any CCTV footage with authorities such as the police if asked. If the police have requested footage from CCTV, it is then important for the footage to continue to follow the strict Data Protection Act regulations in order to ensure that the footage is secure and safe.
- Footage from CCTV systems is to be kept secure at all times, and as part of the Data Protection Act, it is not to be kept for more than the standard of 31 days.
- CCTV cameras are not to be installed in private rooms such as toilets and changing rooms. This would be classified as an invasion of privacy and land you in legal trouble for violating these rules.
- One of the most important regulations is for business owners to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
- Footage from commercial CCTV systems can only be accessed by specific, authorised personnel. It is important that a disclosure policy is put in place, and that not every member of staff can access the CCTV systems.
- Ensure that CCTV is being used for the initial reason for its installation. For example, if CCTV cameras were installed to try and deter criminals, then it must be used for only that and not for monitoring staff.
- The ICO states that there must be a legitimate reason put forward as to why the installation of CCTV cameras is required.
- Using audio along with your CCTV systems is considered an invasion of privacy and therefore is not to be used.
- Signs must be put up in a variety of places to notify individuals that CCTV systems are in place and surveillance is being carried out.
- New GDPR demands tighter security on personal data.
Benefits of CCTV
Offers peace of mind
CCTV systems can offer peace of mind, an often overlooked benefit of having it installed. Knowing that there is 24/7 surveillance, even when you are not there, can allow you to feel a lot more relaxed knowing that your premise is being looked over and kept secure.
It can also bring you peace of mind in that if an incident does occur, such as an internal indicient with staff or external such as a potential break-in, your CCTV cameras will capture it and the appropriate action can then be taken.
CCTV acts as a deterrent
If criminals are attempting to target your commercial property, noticing that there is CCTV might deter them. By having cameras in place, businesses can discourage people from committing vandalism because they know they are being watched. This can help to protect the property and assets of the business, as well as keep costs down due to damage. It can also act as a deterrent for people who work inside the property.
Whilst CCTV and surveillance can be an excellent deterrent, it will not always stop vandals. In the event that a crime is committed, CCTV camera systems can provide evidence that can help lead to prosecution. However, in the case this does happen the CCTV footage can be collected by the police and used to help bring them to justice.
When crimes are committed against your property it can be a very upsetting and frustrating time. However, knowing that your CCTV installation caught the crime on camera can not only ease that upset, but ultimately help to resolve the situation if something was stolen or damaged, for example.
Reduce insurance premium
The installation of CCTV systems can help to significantly reduce insurance premiums for commercial buildings. When insurance companies can see that you have invested in security systems, they deem your property a lower security risk and as such receive reduced insurance premiums.
Improved visibility of your commercial property
We all wish we had another pair of eyes at times, especially when it comes to our commercial property. A commercial CCTV system provides precisely this, allowing you to check up on all the different areas of your property at once.
Once the camera systems are set up, you can watch over your entire property with ease, checking up on every area that you deem important.
By having a clear view of the daily goings on your site, it also helps you to identify areas of improvement that are not working efficiently enough.
Can help to handle disputes
The installation of CCTV systems can be used to help resolve workplace disputes. For example, if two employees are arguing over who is responsible for a mess, CCTV footage can be reviewed to determine who was actually at fault.
In addition, CCTV footage can be used to investigate allegations of bullying or harassment. By reviewing footage from multiple cameras, it may be possible to identify patterns of behaviour that would not be apparent from a single perspective.
CCTV usage throughout a commercial property can be very effective at monitoring staff, but there are strict lawful conditions in which you are allowed to monitor staff under which must be followed. Lawful use of CCTV when monitoring staff include ensuring that all staff are compliant with health and safety regulations, monitoring productivity and keeping staff safe within the premises from internal and external crime. CCTV recordings can also be used if there is even an internal incident such as an accident. However, employees are entitled to strong data protection under the GDPR which is an important factor to be considered here and must not be used to violate CCTV laws.
Combine with an alarms system
To really bulk out your security system, consider adding an alarm alongside your CCTV cameras. Installing our state of the art alarms alongside our CCTV cameras can maximise security on your commercial property. This can help to bring more peace of mind knowing that if your security cameras do not deter criminals, your alarm system can be activated to help notify you and the police. Check out our blog on how to choose the best type of intruder alarm to fit the needs of your commercial property.
We have a range of different intruder alarms that you can choose from to install alongside CCTV by one of our trained technicians.
Having a security system in place is essential for any business owner. Professional installation is key, and with MCFP you can rest easy knowing that all your security gear will be installed securely and properly.
If you’re interested in CCTV installation for your commercial property then contact us. Our friendly team of professional security camera installers will be happy to help with any query and question you have. We can’t wait to hear from you!