So would you like to play "Spot the CCTV Camera?". Eagle eyed visitors may recognise the profusion of street furniture, surrounding a single heritage dome camera keeping watch over part  of Londons' prestigious Oxford Street shopping area.

Welcome to the
"CCTV & The Law"
section of
Doktor Jons

Guide to Closed Circuit TV (CCTV)

"When it comes to CCTV and the law
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CCTV and The Private Security Industry Act 2001

At the moment, here in the U.K., The Private Security Industry Act 2001 specifically relates to the licensing of key security personnel working in the industry, which in the context of CCTV currently means those individuals employed as CCTV Operators. Over a period of time, this requirement for licencing will also be extended to other groups, including for example CCTV ( and all other security ) Consultants.

The regulation of this legislation falls under the remit of the Security Industry Authority, who are responsible for processing licence applications, carrying out background security checks on applicants, and issuing licenses with a current cost for an Operator permit set at £ 190.00 valid for three years ( this is set to increase to £ 245.00 on 6th April 2007 ).

A licence may only be issued to an applicant that has undertaken a 30 hour training programme, and then passed a proficiency exam. In addition, various checks are made by the SIA, including criminal records, qualifications, state of mental health, and eligibility for work.

At present, only staff that are contracted from an external supplier are required to be licensed. Those members of staff that are directly employed by the CCTV system owner, are currently exempt from the requirement to be licensed.
Contracted staff may avoid commiting an offence under Section 3 of the Act, if they are classed as "Approved Contractors" under Section 4 (4) of the PSIA 2001, provided ALL the following points are complied with:-

A. Security activities are carried out by a security operative in their capacity as a director, partner or employee,
B. An application for an SIA license is pending,
C. The licence applied for would authorise the security operative to carry out the security activities at (A) above, and is not one that has previously been refused,
D. The company or employer is currently registered as an approved provider of security industry services under section 14 of the PSIA 2001, and
E. The SIA has authorised that company or employer to use directors, partners or employees whose applications are pending to carry out the security activities at (a) above.

The mandatory requirement for a "Public Space Surveillance" CCTV licence was introduced for England and Wales on the 20th March 2006, and anyone contracted to actively monitor the activities of the general public, or to identify an individual, using either fixed or remote control cameras in either private or public locations, will need a permit under the law.

If a 'passive' system is used solely to obtain video recordings that might be used as evidence, then again, if the operator is using the recordings to identify an individual or to study specific behaviour, then this activity is licensable. Interestingly, a licence is not required where a video surveillance system is being used exclusively to identify the presence of unapproved intruders, or where the system is tasked specifically with the protection of property or buildings, and not generally used to monitor any members of the public that may enter the premises or site.

For more specific details, visit the website of the The Security Industry Authority
... or view the Private Security Industry Act 2001

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