A guide to CCTV for businesses
What are the key options and benefits when it comes to installing security cameras in your workplace? Here’s a guide…
What are the main options…
The main options for security cameras for businesses are:
Standard Closed Circuit TV Systems These come in a range of choices (see below) and involve one or more cameras recording live images sent directly to a recorder and monitor through cabling or wirelessly. Different set-ups can be tailored to individual businesses depending on size and need.
Stand-alone CCTV systems are designed to be used in remote locations that have no access to power supplies. They can be used inside or outside. Images can be recorded onto a memory card or sent to your PC or mobile device.
Types of camera:
- Internet protocol (IP) cameras. Gathers data and sends you images through the Internet. Can share or view live from anywhere and archive footage can be stored for later viewing.
- Dome CCTV camera. Encased in dome-shaped casing which allows people to see the camera, without easily seeing which way the camera is pointing. Helpful for 360 degree or wider angle surveillance.
- Bullet CCTV cameras. Highly visible, casings are usually resistant to water and dirt, good for observing long distances.
- C Mount CCTV cameras. Can be adapted to monitor varying distances. Highly visible.
- PTZ (Pan Tilt & Zoom) camera. Camera lens can be operated to pan left and right, tilt up and down or zoom in and out. Ideal for remote viewing an area with live feed.
- Day / Night CCTV camera. Can record during daytime and night-time in poor light.
- Infared camera. Can record in pitch black conditions and see through fog, dust or smoke. Records colour in the daytime.
What are the main pros and cons for installing CCTV in your workplace?
- It can reduce workplace theft Whether the issues is break ins from intruders or theft within the workplace, this is often a main reason for installing CCTV.
- Evidence. Recordings of incidents can provide valuable evidence in a court of law.
- Reduced insurance costs. Many insurance companies take the use of Closed Circuit TV into consideration when setting their rates.
- Instant alerts. Many cameras are activated by sound or motion and send instant phone alerts to whoever is monitoring your system.
- It can help workers to feel secure Having video surveillance systems installed at the entrance of your business is a great way to log the faces of each individual that enters and also can help workers to feel safe. This is particularly helpful for staff who work unusual hours or night shifts.
- It can reduce instances of harassment, bullying or violence. Being aware of CCTV cameras has been shown to help reduce violence (customer to worker or between employees) and to reduce instances of workplace harassment.
- Increased productivity. Studies have shown that when using security cameras alongside other monitoring techniques, employees can be known to work harder, but only if they’re aware of the additional monitoring (see the privacy issues below) and if there is some sort of incentive to work harder.
- Training. A clever way to use CCTV footage can be to record employees carrying out tasks and using the footage to help new employees learn their new role.
- Cost Installing the necessary wiring and installation of professional surveillance cameras requires a professional installer. In addition you will need to include costs of storage, regular maintenance and monitoring, also ensuring data protection regulations are complied with.
- False sense of security. CCTV cameras can be a deterrent, but they cannot stop crime. Criminals whether inside or outside the workforce can often get around the cameras in one way or another. It is important to have other security measures in place, such as a good alarm system as part of your overall security.
- Increase in worker stress and lower morale. If workers feel they are not trusted and are being monitored to meet deadlines which are challenging, this can result in lower morale
- They can be intrusive of individuals privacy. For this reason, under the GDPR regulations, you are asked to think carefully about whether CCTV is the best solution to the issue you are seeking to address. For example, if you have experienced thefts, would better lighting or an alarm system be a better option?
Data protection: Key points to consider
Employers are entitled to install CCTV in their workplaces, but under data protection regulations you also need to tell employees what you are recording, why and respect their privacy rights:
- You need written policies and procedures in place.
- Monitoring shouldn’t be excessive (you shouldn’t record in changing areas for example) and it must be justifiable.
- Staff should be told where cameras are and will be recorded, and why. This is normally done using signs, which need to be clear, contain details of the purpose of the surveillance and who to contact about the scheme
- You can only use the recordings for the reasons set out in your policies and signs for employees. If you state, for example, that CCTV cameras are there to prevent theft and ensure staff safety, you cannot then use the footage for another reason, such as checking punctuality of staff.
- An appropriate individual should be named as having responsibility for ensuring that procedures are followed and are regularly reviewed.
- Recordings must be kept secure and destroyed after the period of time set out in your data protection policy. You’ll need to write down in your Data Protection and Privacy policies, how you make sure it is secure. There is no limit on the time you keep images, you need to set out reasons for your time limit in your policy. It is, however worth remembering that you must provide recordings to someone who has been filmed and makes a subject access request, within 40 days of the request being made. If you have set a shorter retention period, the information will have been routinely deleted if you take the full 40 calendar days to respond. See this document for more information: STORAGE OF RECORDED CCTV IMAGES
- Further information is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office guidance In the picture: A data protection code of practice for surveillance cameras and personal information [PDF, 312kb]
If you would like more information, particularly about which system is right and what other security measures could be used in addition, or instead, our customer service team are happy to advise you on which system is best suited to you. Call us on 01726 65636 or email email@example.com