Laws and Regulations For Installing CCTV Systems in the UK

The Laws and Regulations for CCTV in the UK

CCTV is a useful security tool, but it is not without complications and controversy. Many people are not comfortable being “caught on camera”, and there are situations where someone should be able to expect a reasonable degree of privacy. Take, for example, hotel rooms or changing rooms in stores. The law in the UK aims to ensure that people’s safety and privacy is respected while giving property owners the means to secure their own space.

What are The Main Pieces of CCTV Law?

There are three sets of legislation governing CCTV in the UK, they are:

The Protection of Freedoms Act (2012)
The Data Protection Act (and updated GDPR)
The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice (2013)


These legislations are enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The legislation is designed to ensure that business owners, or homeowners, can use CCTV to protect their property, while still ensuring that individuals have a right to privacy. Some of the legislation is broad and covers all cameras, while other rules are focused purely on commercial applications of CCTV.

The DPA and the more recent GDR gives people the right to find out what information third parties hold on them. CCTV recordings would be among those pieces of information. Residential use of CCTV is not covered by this act, unless you have set up your cameras to record outside the boundary of your property. You can record what goes on in your own home without worry, but if you start recording the pavement then you would need to tread carefully because you are recording in a public place.

Homeowners should think about why they want CCTV, and what they will be monitoring with it. They should inform their neighbours that they are using cameras, and try to configure them so that they will not intrude upon their neighbour’s property. If it is not possible to do this, then using privacy masking to blank out areas that you don’t want to record is a good idea. You should also display at least one notice warning people that there is CCTV on the property. It is good practice to delete old recordings after one month.

Commercial CCTV

Commercial CCTV is another sensitive area. You should register with the ICO as a CCTV operator, and perform Privacy Impact Assessments before starting to record. Just as with residential property, you should have signs warning people that CCTV is in use in the area. Business owners must publish the name of a person that members of the public can contact if they have questions or complaints about CCTV recordings.

CCTV recordings should not be kept any longer than necessary, and only authorised personnel should have access to them. You should not use CCTV in private places such as changing rooms or toilets.

If you have any doubts about your CCTV setup, then seek professional advice visit The fines for improper handling of private data and recordings can be quite severe so it pays to check in advance that you are complying with the law.

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