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Legal Requirements for CCTV at Home

Naturally, we all want to protect our homes as thoroughly as possible, and one of the best ways to do this is to install CCTV – closed circuit television equipment.

It enables you to check who is approaching your property, and identify anyone who is on your private land. If you do have to call the police or your security firm about potential criminal activity or anti-social behaviour, the footage can be vital evidence.

But before any of those advantages start, CCTV can also be an important crime deterrent. If it’s clearly signposted as being in operation, then it can be extremely off-putting for someone considering causing trouble in or around your property.

However, the signposting also serves another purpose – it keeps you within the law. Because even if this is your home, there are rules and regulations that affect your use of CCTV.

Laws regarding CCTV in private properties

The regulations arise from the Protection of Freedoms Act (2012) from which the Government created the Surveillance Camera code of practice (2013). This is upheld by the Government’s Surveillance Camera Commissioner.

The law is not designed to deter homeowner CCTV equipment. Its aim is to avoid misuse and to ensure that it doesn’t impact on the privacy rights that innocent people have. You are protecting your home with CCTV, but it shouldn’t inadvertently spy on your neighbours or passers-by at the same time!

Staying within the law with domestic CCTV equipment

When installing CCTV at your house or apartment, homeowners need to consider the direction cameras are pointing. The focus must be on vulnerable areas, such as your main entrances and exits. If you can argue a clear crime prevention reason for why the cameras face the way they do, you are covered.

You are also legally obliged to let your neighbours know that you are using CCTV equipment at your home. The law also demands that you post notices to warn everyone else that you have cameras on your building. However, as mentioned, this is a great way of informing would-be-criminals that your home is protected.

Another stipulation of the legislation covering domestic CCTV systems is that you should regularly wipe the images off your hard drive or film. You shouldn’t store imagery which may feature innocent visitors for any longer than needed to verify no crime was committed.

If someone believes you have CCTV footage of them, within the Data Protection Act, they can demand to see the imagery.

Compliance from competent suppliers

Compliance with the law is a great deal easier if you use a reputable CCTV installer in your home. The Code that covers domestic CCTV equipment makes it clear that householders take responsibility for its operation. A household CCTV supplier, therefore, needs to make sure you are well informed and know how it works. This includes regular maintenance of CCTV equipment in your home, to make sure it still complies with the law.

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