Data Protection Act

Data Protection Act

The Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 ensures that all personal data is used in a professional and responsible manner; this relates to CCTV because images of people are classed as ‘data’.

Information about people which is taken from images, such as vehicle registration numbers is also classed as data. Because of this, the Act is applicable to CCTV systems and covers most uses of CCTV Systems by organisations regardless of the number of cameras.

Exemptions to the Act are; household/private systems, images captured for recreational images and dummy or non-operational cameras.

To see the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 in full, please click here.

The CCTV Code of Practice

This code recommends how to meet the legal requirements of the DPA:

  • Know your responsibilities and obligations.
  • Have clear procedures to determine how the system is used in practice.
  • Regularly review whether the use of CCTV continues to be justified.
  • Cameras must be sited and the system must have the necessary technical specification to ensure that images are of an appropriate quality.
  • Recorded material should be stored so that the integrity of the image is maintained.
  • Disclosure of images from the CCTV system must also be controlled & consistent with the purpose of the system.
  • Images should not be kept for longer than strictly necessary.
  • Clear signage must inform people that they are under CCTV surveillance.
  • People whose images are recorded have a right to view & request copies of the images which must be provided within 40 days and the current maximum charge set by Parliament is £10.

Notifying the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)

A statutory requirement for every organisation that processes personal information is that they notify the ICO, unless they are exempt. Failure to notify is a criminal offence.

How to Legally Produce CCTV Images for Evidence

  • Comply with the DPA.
  • Ensure your CCTV is fit for purpose.
  • Ensure picture quality is clear.
  • Accurate Time/Date settings.
  • Train staff on CCTV law and correct operation.

Please note: this information is given as a guide only and is NOT intended to provide legal advice. This should be sought as appropriate in relation to a specific matter.

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