Are CCTV Signs Compulsory? CCTV Sign Regulations in the UK
October 13th, 2022
Last updated: June 9th, 2023
A lot of people don’t realise that when you have a CCTV system installed you have certain responsibilities in line with keeping people’s alerted of the fact that recording is taking place. Are CCTV signs compulsory? Are you free to do what you like on your own commercial premises or is it necessary to tell others when you have recording in place?
The truth is that CCTV recording has become more complex in recent years, especially with the addition of GDPR regulations.
GDPR and CCTV Recordings
Companies using cameras to make any sort of recordings of customers or employees must do so in line with the 2018 Data Protection Act and GDPR. British laws set out peoples’ rights quite clearly, and workplaces and commercial premises must obey a few very specific rules, and ask certain questions about whether or not they are actually able to even keep the recordings.
If you use CCTV, it is important to keep some records and have specific reasons why. Considerations include:
- Having a reason to take the CCTV recordings and have a CCTV system installed
- Be able to explain, if required, the impact of your CCTV and who it affects
- Only keeping recordings if necessary, and for the length of time necessary
- Having a reliable way of disposing of the recordings (deleting) once they are no longer required, and making them inaccessible to others
- Displaying signs to show people that they are being recorded and where. This is where the legal status of signs for CCTV systems comes in!
Any business or individual using CCTV must have plausible reasons to even make the recordings in the first place, let alone to then store them for potential future use.
This doesn’t mean you can’t make recordings. A plausible reason could well be that you have set up a recording system on a private property that only captures images of those entering that property while it is closed for business. This means that those who enter at that time are likely to be doing so unlawfully.
Your legal position is further strengthened if you are able to show that you are making recordings, and this means a sign.
Government Guidelines About CCTV Signage
The UK Government has created a handy checklist and guidance on using CCTV on commercial premises.
Guidelines state that you must:
- put up a sign to let people know CCTV is being used and why
- in most circumstances, be able to provide images within 1 calendar month to anyone you’ve recorded
- share images with the authorities, such as the police, if they ask for them
- keep images only as long as your business needs them
- pay a data protection fee
One thing you may have noticed is that the sign must say why the recordings are being taken. Most of these signs will say something along the lines of “CCTV images are being recorded for the purposes of crime detection, prevention, and public safety”. This serves as enough of an explanation of the reasons for recording.
The signs must be put up anywhere that recordings are taking place, and should be clear and visible to anyone who is in that location.
CCTV System Maintenance and Your Obligations
In the Government guidelines for domestic CCTV systems they also explain that CCTV maintenance provides you with an opportunity to also check that you are abiding by the regulations when it comes to GDPR and signage. For instance, checking that all of the signs in the area are visible and have not been damaged or removed. Remember that signage should say why the recording is being made too under GDPR laws, so “smile, you’re on CCTV” is not going to cut it.
This is also the time to check that recordings aren’t being kept for longer than required, and that you are able to provide images for the authorities if they are requested.
Robinsons Facilities Services can help you to stay legally compliant when it comes to your CCTV system, as well as performing regular maintenance to check that the system is making reliable recordings that can be used if required. Our accredited and professional team are happy to advise on your commercial premises, and also offer installation services if you are getting your CCTV installed for the first time.
Looking for help or advice with your CCTV system? Get in touch to book regular servicing or urgent repairs of your CCTV system in Yorkshire as well as other property maintenance services.