Knowing the legalities around CCTV usage in the workplace can be a minefield, especially in the current climate, with data privacy being a top concern. Unsurprisingly, people are beginning to question the use of surveillance, with people in London being surveilled by CCTV on average 300 times a day. When we go for a walk or enter a common space or building, it is almost certain that a surveillance camera in the area will capture our movements. Whilst overuse should be avoided, and not every business needs CCTV, the benefits of having it in place should not be denied.
Why should CCTV be installed in the workplace?
There are various reasons why CCTV can be necessary for the functioning of a business. Having security cameras helps keep staff and business property safe. Keeping video records of your staff's movements within the workplace can not only help ensure employees are working and not leaving their posts but also helps keep a record of what has happened in case an incident occurs. This helps the employee and the business see where the fault may lie, whether it is the individual's human error or the business's. More so, if employees work in a profession which deals directly with the public, like working in a bar or a hospital, on-person body cameras can reduce abusive behaviour and deter violence. This is also true for taxi drivers who use personal cameras or dash cams, which can help capture wrongdoing when a staff member is alone and more vulnerable.
Are security cameras illegal?
It is only illegal to watch staff through security cameras if they are unaware they are being filmed or if the cameras are in private areas. Employees must be made aware if CCTV is being brought into a business or is currently installed. Signs are legally required to be erected, clearly indicating employees are being recorded. To maintain good staff relations and be a trusted employer, we strongly recommend talking to staff and helping them understand why the business uses CCTV. For CCTV to be used in the UK, businesses must comply with the following:
- Employees must be aware CCTV is in place or being brought in.
- Employees should be told why CCTV is in place.
- If an employee requests footage, this should be provided within one month.
- The Information Commissioner’s Office should be notified of the CCTV instalment.
- If CCTV was installed to deter crime, it should not be used to monitor the movement of employees.
If you are sensible with your camera usage and ensure your employees are comfortable, there is no reason your company can not enjoy the benefits of CCTV cameras.