Would you really benefit from installing CCTV?
There are many benefits to installing CCTV cameras at your home or business premises, but there are also costs and responsibilities involved, including new data protection regulations. This guide gives you the basic information to help you decide whether this is the best security measure for your circumstances.
The first question to ask when considering installing CCTV is whether, in fact, this is the best method of improving security of your property, particularly if you are looking to protect a domestic property rather than a commercial property.
COSTS V BENEFITS
As well as the obvious benefits for your peace of mind, and the help it provides when catching criminals or producing evidence in legal cases, the security systems can deter potential burglars, and keep your insurance premiums down.
But just how effective is CCTV in preventing crimes in relation to the costs of installation and maintenance and new responsibilities of data protection? Which properties are most likely to benefit from CCTV, and when might it be better to opt for other security measures such as good quality locks, alarms and lighting?
According to a study at the University of Leicester, it seems to be most effective at deterring pre-planned crimes. Companies with assets which can be of high value to criminals therefore, can obviously benefit from CCTV preventing your property from being targeted. Tradesmen with valuable tools or equipment, construction yards with valuable goods stored on site or producers or high value luxury items are examples of clients who could benefit from having a visible CCTV system in place.
A dummy CCTV camera may help to prevent inexperienced or opportunist thieves – but experienced criminals who plan crimes in advance are less likely to be fooled.
CCTV can also be helpful in helping police to catch and stop offenders who are committing crimes such as ongoing vandalism or anti-social behaviour on or around your property.
When it comes to most domestic, private households who simply want to deter burglars or intruders, however, police advice is often that less expensive security methods, including better lighting, intruder alarm systems and properly fitted locks are more effective in improving security than a CCTV system.
Police advice says that for private households, better lighting, alarm systems or locks are more important to security than a CCTV system.
The Information Commissioners Office, which protects the privacy of us all as individuals suggests that you think about the following questions:
- Are there other things I could use to protect my home, such as better lighting?
- What is the most privacy-friendly way to set up the system?
- What areas do I want the cameras to capture?
- Can I position the cameras to avoid intruding on my neighbours’ property or any shared or public spaces?
- Do I need to record the images, or is a live feed enough?
- Has my CCTV system got an audio-recording facility? Audio recording is very privacy-intrusive. So in most cases where householders use CCTV, they should disable audio recording.
If your main goal is to safeguard you and your property against crime, talk to your security services provider or your local police for advice about crime prevention in your particular circumstances before investing in CCTV. Better locks, security lighting or an alarm system may be more effective and less expensive ways of securing your property.
I’ve decided on installing CCTV, what are the different options?
Standard Closed Circuit TV Systems come in a range of choices and involve one or more cameras recording live images sent directly to a recorder and monitor through cabling or more recently wirelessly over a wifi network.
Stand-alone CCTV systems are designed to be used in remote locations that have no access to power supplies. They can be used equally effectively inside or outside. Images can be recorded onto a SD memory card within the unit or even sent to your PC or mobile device.
All of these CCTV systems can be installed at a relatively low price nowadays, but it is worth bearing in mind that low cost CCTV can produce unclear, blurry footage and it can be unreliable.
Different set-ups can be tailored to individual home or business depending on size and need. CCTV set up can be relatively easy however, choosing the correct system can be a little more daunting.
Getting a properly accredited and experienced CCTV installer to advise you on the system means you can get the best system to suit your needs and budget and also get good advice on where to place the cameras.
There are a number of assessing bodies in the security industry. At Waldon Security, we are accredited by the SSAIB – a leading independent certification body for organisations providing security systems and services.
You can use CCTV to protect your property but unless you set up your system so it captures only images within the boundary of your private domestic property (including your garden) must follow the Data Protection Act.
If your system captures images of people outside the boundary of your private domestic property – for example, in neighbours’ homes or gardens, shared spaces, or on a public footpath or a street then the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA18) will apply to you, and you will need to ensure your use of CCTV complies with these laws. It’s worth noting that regardless of whether or not your use of CCTV falls within the data protection laws, the ICO recommends you use it responsibly to protect the privacy of others.
In order to comply with GDPR you must:
- put up a sign to let people know CCTV is being used and why
- be able to provide images within 40 days to anyone you’ve recorded (you can charge up to £10 for this)
- share images with the authorities, such as the police, if they ask for them
- only keep the footage for as long as you need it – delete it regularly, and when it is no longer needed.
- ensure the security of the footage you capture – in other words, holding it securely and making sure nobody can watch it without good reason. This also means that the CCTV system is only operated in ways you intend and can’t be misused for other reasons. Anyone you share your property with, such as family members who could use the equipment, need to know the importance of not misusing it.
- delete footage of people if they ask you to do so. You should do this within one month. You can refuse to delete it if you specifically need to keep it for a genuine legal dispute – in which case you need to tell them this, and also tell them they can challenge this in court or complain to the ICO.
- consider any objection you get now from particular people about capturing their image in the future. Given the nature of CCTV systems, this may be very difficult to do. However, you should again think whether you need to record images beyond your property boundary – particularly if your system is capturing images from a neighbour’s home or garden.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has more guidance on how to use CCTV cameras and storing images.
If you’re still unsure if CCTV is the best security measure for your property, or if you’d like more advice on costs and options, give one of our helpful customer service team a call to discuss your needs and we will happily advise you on which system is best suited to you.