How to comply with the Data Protection Act

First, think about the problem you are trying to solve and the best solution. Usually people want CCTV to protect their property against crime. Check your local police advice about crime prevention. Improved locks or security lighting may be more effective and less expensive than CCTV in achieving this.

If you decide to use CCTV at home you should think about the following.

  • What areas need to be seen on camera - will the camera capture images you actually need? And does it capture images that you should not be viewing (for example, a neighbours property or public space)?
  • How will you keep video recordings safe so they can be used by the police to investigate crimes affecting you?
  • You should you put up signs clearly explaining that video recording is taking place.
  • Make sure the CCTV equipment can’t be misused. Anyone you live with needs to know how important it is not to misuse it.
  • Activate security settings to protect the CCTV footage. Make sure any recordings of individuals are held securely. Only allow access to people who need it.
  • Consider speaking to your neighbours to explain what you are doing and discuss any objections or suggestions they have. It may be useful to show your neighbours what the footage will capture.
  • Consider buying equipment that allows you to control what you record. This will enable you to keep any potential privacy intrusion to a minimum.

Please disable any audio recording facility. Many CCTV systems have audio recording facilities. Audio recording is particularly privacy intrusive. In most cases where CCTV is being used on domestic properties audio recording should be disabled.

Remember that your use of a CCTV system may be appropriate but publicly uploading or streaming footage of individuals will require further justification and in most cases will not be justifiable.

You are the data controller for your CCTV video data. Under the Data Protection Act, individuals have the right to request a copy from you if you collect video of them.

More details are on the Information Commissioner's Officer (ICO) website.

The Crime Prevention website gives information on CCTV for domestic use.