A security camera mounted on a wall next to a bold 'SECURITY NOTICE' sign, indicating a monitored area and reinforcing the presence of surveillance measures for safety and deterrence.

Naturally, we all want to ensure the space we live in feels safe and secure at all times. The most effective way to do this is by installing a home security system that can do the hard work for you. Once set up, security cameras can be set up to record 24/7 or triggered by motion sensors, allowing unlimited access to your space. In case of a break-in, security cameras can provide vital evidence of criminals and their actions, hopefully helping identify them. If you are hoping to reap the benefits of a home security system, it is important to be aware of CCTV's legalities to avoid misuse.

Surveillance footage recording in private properties

Usually, you do not need to obtain permission to install CCTV unless you live in a listed building or a rental property. In these cases, you will have to approach the building owner for permission to install CCTV, as installing them can alter or damage the interiors of your home. When it comes to installing CCTV within a privately owned property, laws aim to ensure CCTV is not being used maliciously. CCTV is important to operate respectfully and responsibly to those living within the home and surrounding neighbours.

When installing CCTV, like an outdoor spy camera, the directions in which your cameras are pointing must be considered. By the letter of the law, you must focus on areas in your home which could be vulnerable to crime, like hallways, entrances, exits, etc. You must be able to justify why a camera is pointed a certain way about crime prevention. Surveillance cameras should have as little impact on the surrounding areas of your home as possible.

Surveillance footage recorded outside

Recording surveillance footage outside is where things could possibly get a little more complicated. You may be subject to data privacy laws if you cannot avoid capturing footage outside your home or garden boundaries. Areas like public sidewalks, roads, or your neighbours' property cannot be monitored simply as your home's interior. Whilst recording these areas would not break the law, you will become a “Data Controller” and will need to comply with data protection laws, like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and DPA18 (Data Protection Act 2018). These laws aim to ensure the data collection process is as transparent as possible, and those being recorded can access their data if they so desire.

To comply with these laws, you may have to comply with SARs (Subject Access Requests) if an individual requests access to any footage you have collected of them. These requests must be granted and completed within one month of the inquiry. Where images are being recorded, you will also need to put up signs alerting people that they are being filmed. You must be aware of these two major things when recording shared areas. Once you are aware of and comply with any regulations around filming, you can begin operating your cameras in a way that benefits you and respects those around you.