The Legalities of CCTV Towers
Currently, there are 5.2 million CCTV cameras scattered around the UK, watching the public at all times. 96% of those cameras are privately owned by businesses and homeowners, with the main purpose of protecting their property. However, before CCTV can be installed, there are certain legal requirements that must be met. These requirements can differ depending on whether your CCTV is privately or publicly owned.
CCTV towers often cover a much larger area, with cameras located to capture a 360 view. Because of this, the installation of CCTV towers comes with rules and regulations for both public and private use.
The implementation of CCTV in public areas is relatively easy to do. Permission to do so is only needed if the building you’re installing it on, is a listed building. In the case of CCTV towers, which are often free-standing, this is a regulation you most likely won’t need to concern yourself with. However, permission is required for CCTV if the tower and housing of it is greater than 75cm x 25cm x 25cm. If the tower is being placed in an area of conservation, it is always best to check with local planning authorities before installing a CCTV tower.
Placing CCTV towers in public areas also requires clear signage, stating the CCTV is in operation. This informs members of the public that they may be being filmed, and therefore is not a breach of their rights. The footage captured by these CCTV towers must only be used for security purposes, and distributing the footage out to third parties is an unlawful act.
It is perfectly legal to install CCTV for private use, as the most common reason is to protect one’s property against theft and criminal damage. Your CCTV can cover your property and land without issue.
If your CCTV or CCTV tower captures footage outside the boundaries of your property, such as other homes, driveways or land, then you will be subject to GDPR guidelines and the Data Protection Act 2018. Whilst having this type of CCTV coverage is not illegal, you have to ensure your CCTV complies with both these laws. This footage must be protected and cannot be accessed without a valid reason. Any footage captured by those outside the boundaries of your premises can be deleted upon their request.
You do not need planning permission for CCTV towers if the dimensions do not exceed 4m in height. Any larger fixtures will need permission from the local council before being installed.
Additional legal requirements
Sound or conversations cannot be recorded by CCTV, as it is illegal to record conversations without knowledge or permission from the individuals. Audio CCTV is also much more expensive than just visual, which is why almost all CCTV cameras do not record sound.
If CCTV towers are installed by a business, someone must be named a CCTV operator. This individual is responsible for all footage captured by CCTV, deciding what should be captured and how it should be used. Should footage need to be accessed by a third party, such as law enforcement, the CCTV operator is in charge of handing over the required footage to this party within 40 days.
If you are interested in installing a CCTV tower for either public or private use, contact County Security for a CCTV tower quote. Our towers are up to 75% cheaper than the usual Security Guard service, with a higher standard of quality. Visit our CCTV Towers service page for more information.