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More general information on using CCTV in the Home
To try and address the various points to consider, this section has been broken down into property 'situations', and whilst it's just not possible to cover every eventuality, at least it will hopefully provide some useful 'food for thought'.
If you have a particular question about CCTV, or have identified a point which you think should be included in this section, why not drop Doktor Jon a line, and he'll see what he can do to help.
Email your comments to:- helpdesk[at]doktorjon.co.uk
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Please Note - Doktor Jon is currently upgrading his site, so you may see some layout changes on various pages, whilst the work is in progress.
Hopefully, the complete re-design and improvements, should be completed by early 2010.
Here in the UK, there is very little legislation that has any bearing on the use of residential CCTV. The Data Protection Act, Human Rights Act and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) are all exempt from covering domestic cameras. The "Permitted Development" planning legislation may apply to cameras fitted on to the fabric of the building, whilst any camera that has been installed to deliberately overlook a neighbours property, could well fall foul of the Protection from Harassment Act (which can be invoked by both the police and civil action).
At this stage, it's perhaps worth exploring the potential problems you are likely to encounter, when using Closed Circuit Television at home.
Generally speaking, if unwanted visitors spot CCTV cameras around a property they tend to react in one of four different ways.
1) If they're high on drink or drugs, they probably don't care about the cameras so you can expect them to do whatever they want regardless.
2) If the 'visitors' are intent on committing a burglary, or any other 'offence against the person', they will either look to attack via a weakspot which does not appear to be covered by CCTV, or they may just try and disable (or even steal) the cameras, often prior to getting up to mischief.
3) If all the security measures combined with CCTV appear to provide a level of risk far in excess of any possible criminal gains, they will usually go and look for a much softer target elsewhere.
4) If you are plagued by a Neighbour from Hell (NfH) or local individuals intent on committing Anti Social Behaviour, the sight of a CCTV camera can often deter any further problems if the individual/s are sufficiently intimidated by the presence of a CCTV camera.
In this situation, the problems may reduce or even stop completely (this is quite rare, unless backed up by the certainty of court proceedings or criminal prosecution, perhaps on the back of an existing ASBO or Acceptable Behaviour Contract).
Sometimes the mere presence of a camera, can act like a 'red rag to a bull', and in this situation, the problems may change or even escalate, so be warned; CCTV is not a magic wand, but rather a tool to be used sensibly if it is to produce the desired effect.
It is important when considering the installation of security cameras, to try and calmly analyse what potential risks may be present.
For example, theft by deception (burglary artifice) is very unlikely with a 30 year old 6'5" well built male homeowner, but for an 85 year old 4'11" widow, the risks suddenly increase (if you are an 85 year old 4'11" widow reading this, Doktor Jon really doesn't want to frighten you!).
If you live in a detached property which backs on to open fields, at the edge of a town, there is a much higher risk of burglary, than say for example, a flat or apartment located on the sixth floor of a modern, well designed and well maintained apartment block.