Around six million CCTV surveillance cameras are operational in the UK, according to the British Security Industry Association (BSIA).
What you might not know is that images of people captured is classified as personal data. Businesses must therefore comply with the Data Protection Act or, from May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Organisations are obliged by the legislation to notify people that you are taking their personal data. The most effective way of doing so is by prominently displaying signs within the area captured by CCTV – at the entrance to the area as well as within.
Clear and prominent signs are particularly important when the CCTV cameras are placed discreetly or where people do not expect to be under surveillance. Signs should be prominent and frequent.
Having CCTV signage is an added deterrent when it comes to protecting a property and costs very little to install. Not having the correct signage in place is often where businesses fall short.
If you are unsure about what signage is required and where to position it, it’s always best seeking expert help and visiting the Information Commissioner’s Office website.
Below is a useful guide for CCTV signage created by the Stocksigns Group in-house experts.
The CCTV signage checklist
Signage should be clearly visible and readable. It will also need to show details of the organisation operating the system, the purpose of its use and who to contact if there are any queries.
Signs should be an appropriate size in relation to its context. If the sign needs to be seen by a car driver it should be bigger, and if it is in a shop then a small sign would be more suitable.
All staff should know what to do and who to contact if a member of the public enquires about the CCTV system. Any signs in a public area must show the organisation or authority responsible for the systems.
Take care when it comes to positioning your CCTV cameras. Although your cameras may be positioned on site, they may still capture images of people walking by. If this is the case your CCTV signage should be visible outside the business too.
Depending on the location, new signage alone – without CCTV – might be a sufficient and cost-effective deterrent to thieves. A movement-activated lighting system in somewhere like a car park could serve a similar function while consuming less electricity.
For any information regarding the use of CCTV systems, storing information and codes of practice it is advised to visit the website for the Information Commissioner’s Office