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Use of CCTV In The Workplace-Pros And Cons

Use of CCTV In The Workplace-Pros And Cons

The use of CCTV in the workplace will always be a contentious issue. Some people don’t mind it and say if you have nothing to hide, you won't mind either. Some people see it as an infringement on their human rights. Others just feel a bit uncomfortable with the nosing.

But is using CCTV in the workplace legal in the UK? What steps do you need to take to legally install it?

Let’s find out.

Is It Ok To Use CCTV In The Workplace?

Image of a white office with a woman being monitored by CCTV for blog by Mayfair Fire and Security on using CCTV in the workplace

It is legal to install CCTV in your workplace, as long as you follow some key steps (more on this later).

Many business owners install CCTV to protect their business interests and those of the staff.

Some common reasons we hear are:

  • Security: preventing theft, vandalism or assault. This can either be from staff or members of the public
  • Health and Safety: ensuring safe practices are followed or providing visibility in seldom used or remote areas (for example, in a large warehouse)
  • Accountability: In case there is an accusation of misconduct, or a security or health and safety breach
  • Auditing and compliance: some sectors, such as finance, require this

There must be a justifiable reason for using CCTV in the workplace. Not only is this a legal requirement but it can damage the trust and morale of your staff if CCTV is thought to be unfairly used.

What Laws Must be Considered When Using CCTV In The Workplace?

When using CCTV in the workplace, you must consider how the use infringes the data subject’s human rights and data rights.

The Data Protection Act 2018 states:

  • CCTV can only be used for the intended purpose. For example, you cannot use the CCTV to monitor the length of lunch times of staff if it was set up to prevent vandalism in the break room.
  • You can only monitor the areas you need to for your purpose. For example, if you are monitoring an entrance for security purposes, you should not have the receptionist’s desk in shot. If it is unavoidable, be sure to inform the people impacted or concerned and discuss it with them.
  • You must inform the data subjects. You must tell anyone who is likely to be filmed by the CCTV that filming is taking place. This covers anyone who might inadvertently be in shot. A sign usually suffices.
  • You may not be in a position to record conversations between members of the public (except in specific circumstances).
  • If a data subject asks, you must provide all the footage taken of them within 1 calendar month
  • You must have a clear CCTV policy
  • There should be a named person within your organisation who takes responsibility for the CCTV footage
  • The footage can only be kept for as long as absolutely necessary
  • The footage must be securely stored and not accessible by those who do not need to access it

The ICO has this great guidance here.

The other law you must consider when installing CCTV in the workplace is the Human Rights Act. Article 8 of the Human Rights Act is generally accepted as covering the use of CCTV. 

It states that everyone has a right to privacy. Essentially, you cannot spy on people without them knowing.

When setting up your CCTV, be especially careful if you happen to record members of the public, or your cameras are arranged in such a way as to enable a view into someone’s home.

Using CCTV In The Workplace-What Should I Do?

If you do want to have CCTV installed in the workplace, there are some things you need to do.

 Image of an office for blog by Mayfair Fire and Security on using CCTV in the workplace

  1. Decide if the reason you want to install it is legitimate enough
  2. Inform your staff. It is better to consult with them and get them on board then tell them it is happening
  3.  Be sure to tell your teams what levels of privacy they can expect
  4. Write your CCTV policy and share amongst your team
  5. Give your employees a right to reply
  6. Be sure the person who is responsible for the data is aware and properly trained
  7. Set up secure storage, both electronically and physically
  8. Inform the ICO
  9. Choose a reputable company to install the CCTV

Following these steps will make sure that your use of CCTV in the workplace is not only compliant with law but also keeps the team on board.

Get In Touch With Us

Here at Mayfair Fire and Security, we install CCTV in a wide range of workplaces around the country. If you would like to speak to us for advice, we are happy to take your call. Feel free to call us on 0800 917 9385, email or fill in our contact form here. 

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