Faced with the threat of criminal activity such as burglary and vandalism, increasing numbers of property owners and businesses are installing CCTV systems to provide a constant watchful eye over their homes or premises. CCTV can act as a deterrent, warning would-be criminals that their actions will be monitored and recorded, and can provide the police with vital evidence to assist in the arrest and prosecution of offenders. However, it is worth knowing that anyone who installs CCTV may have legal responsibilities to display warning signs that are easily seen.
The use of CCTV in the UK is governed by the Data Protection Act, but the law does not include cameras used on domestic properties, so long as they do not monitor nearby public areas. Therefore, there is no legal requirement for a homeowner to display CCTV warning signs.
However, as CCTV is intended to be a deterrent, homeowners should consider whether displaying CCTV signage is a sensible measure that will alert potential criminals that their actions will be recorded. Most property owners would prefer to prevent burglary and vandalism than to hand over their CCTV recordings to the police after an offence has been committed, especially as crime causes major emotional trauma.
With most properties also visited regularly by salesmen, newspaper boys and postal workers, it is also a moral obligation to advise visitors that they are being recorded. A CCTV warning sign will quickly equip them with the necessary information.
Similarly, on commercial premises the purpose of CCTV is to prevent criminal behaviour, and therefore highly visible warning signs are ideal for conveying a clear message to anyone who ventures onto the site.
Under UK law, businesses are also legally obliged let people know that CCTV surveillance is operating. This can be easily and affordably achieved by placing prominent warning signs at the entrance to the site, with other signs positioned appropriately, such as at the reception desk or close to other access gates.
Businesses that use CCTV but fail to erect warning signs could be prosecuted for being in breach of Data Protection law.
CCTV warning signs for reassurance
Whether you are a homeowner or a company manager, CCTV systems are most effectively complemented by highly visible warning signs that will deter criminals while offering your family, your colleagues or customers reassurance that they are safe at all times.