5 things you didn't know about CCTV

Jon Felix BSc(Hons) MDIP MBCI Msyl Jon Felix BSc(Hons) MDIP MBCI Msyl Tuesday, 3 Nov 2020

CCTV stands for Closed Circuit Television and this term covers the range of technologic devices apt to record footage within a set environment for security purposes.

CCTV is a very common security tool; we use these daily, almost to the point now that they are taken for granted. However, day-to-day use of these systems is essential in the effective deployment of security as a deterrent, investigatory tool and live review in addition to Responding Officers. Here we are going to answer some questions you didn’t know you had about this very common security system.

Is it legal to record sound on CCTV?

As with any CCTV system or system that will hold personal or sensitive data, audio recording can be done, however, it needs to be justified and proportionate to the ultimate aims of the system. Systems such as Body Worn Video will record audio and video and can be used as evidence in court. There are strict guidelines as to the use of the audio recordings and how this is stored, transferred and in line with evidentiary legislation. If audio is part of the system, it needs to be clearly defined in the CCTV scope and in line with GDPR and ICO codes of practice.

Can CCTV be accessed by any member of a security team working on site?

Access to CCTV needs to be restricted to those with the correct training, authorisation and SIA licences (CCTV), and appropriate access to the control room and CCTV system(s) held on any site. There are rules that govern System Owners and System Users. In any case, all of those with access are governed by the GDPR conditions for safe data handling, usage and storage.

On private premises like a corporate estate, who decides where to install CCTV cameras?

System installation is designed and implemented in conjunction with (usually) police, area knowledge, security teams and property owners - sometimes asset management or service management agents on behalf of the owners. The installation will take into account any hot spots, areas of vulnerability, busy areas, vehicle access, people movement etc.

How are CCTV cameras useful for security?

Where the CCTV really assists is in the correct application of manual CCTV patrols, automatic patrols, established automatic alerts, hot zones and other technological aspects that systems offer. The way operators and control rooms match these elements of the CCTV will be unique to the environment. How are CCTV cameras useful? CCTV cameras need to be used with site knowledge to maximise the available coverage. The images and how these are collated and processed is vital for evidentiary purposes. However, for the system to be most effective, the quality of the images needs to be good. Each system is different, and the system may not have the latest tech or camera pixel quality. Therefore, using the best images that you have available, may need a combination of views, and other cameras to get the best result possible.

Can the Police gain access to the system at any time?

Police will need to follow the same GDPR conditions to review footage, therefore they need to make a request to view, then follow any access controls to enter the control room or viewing area - these may be more stringent with current COVID considerations. Working with the Police is essential, so sharing information that will assist in any wider investigations will have to meet the required legislation to ensure it can be used to secure convictions or any other action required to respond to an unlawful activity.




Photo by Lianhao Qu on Unsplash