CCTV Legal Requirements: CCTV Laws Explained

This month with Caught on Camera we’ll be explaining the law surrounding CCTV in the UK.

Security Cameras

CCTV Laws Explained

We want to ensure that our customers understand the procedures that must be followed when installing a CCTV camera and the laws they must abide by. In this article, you will find the answers to:

When do I Need to Follow the Data Protection Act?

This act entitles you to obtain any information that involves you. This includes CCTV footage and images that could contain something like your car’s licence plate.

Whoever operates the CCTV camera, they must follow a set of rules.

If the CCTV footage is being used for harassment or blackmail then this should be taken into the hands of the police.

CCTV Filming

Signs must be enforced when CCTV is being used.

In the very unusual circumstance that CCTV is in operation in places such as public restrooms, the operator must ensure that everyone is aware that this is the case. This is used for places of serious concern.

Sound/conversation is not allowed to be recorded, however exceptions include taxi cabs and police custody suites.

Being a CCTV Operator

A trustworthy member of your team should be responsible for CCTV footage. This person should decide what needs to be recorded and how to use it and who they should present it to.

  • Enroll with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
  • Ensure you understand how to operate the system and know when to provide appropriate information.
  • Check to make sure all procedures are being followed exactly.

When is CCTV Footage OK to Hand Over?

You are within your rights to obtain CCTV footage of yourself and this is available on request and you should be provided with the relevant images within 40 days. You may be charged a fee up to £10, this is put in place by Parliament and is called a “Subject Access Request”. You will have to provide your identity to help the CCTV operator to find you on the system.

It is forbidden for CCTV operators to share footage of identifiable people with the media or on the internet for entertainment purposes. The only footage that is allowed to be released is if it’s to identify someone for purposes requested by the police.

Once CCTV has been requested from the police, the operator must abide by the Data Protection Act to ensure that this footage is safe and secure and not handed to anyone other.

How Long Should I Hold on to Footage?

Generally CCTV footage should have the retention time of 31 days but this can differ on occasion, when it comes to severe incidents that require consistent monitoring.

CCTV at Home

The Data Protection Act is exempt from CCTV on your property. However, if your camera captures passersby then you must abide by this Act. This is to protect the privacy of individuals and of course, ensure that your CCTV is being used responsibly.

Using CCTV Responsibly

There are a few things to consider before installing CCTV:

  • Will CCTV help you to feel secure about your property’s security?
  • Will light motion sensors provide you with solutions to your concerns?
  • Where is the best place to house this CCTV camera without invading other’s privacy?

What Should I Do if I Capture Images Beyond the Property?

If your camera happens to capture part of your neighbours property or a garden across the road from you, you must take steps to ensure you comply with the DPA

How Do I Comply with the DPA?

  • Put up signs to let others know that there’s CCTV in operation.
  • Explain to others within the property that the CCTV isn’t there for any unlawful misuse.
  • Only offer access to those that need the CCTV.
  • Purchase CCTV that enables you to decide what to record.


If you’re looking for CCTV installations, maintenance or general advice, get in touch with our experts here at Caught On Camera Ltd.

With over 3 decades of experience working with and installing top of the range CCTV systems, you can ensure you’re in good hands. Call us today to see what we can do for you.