Imagine, money goes missing from one of your tills, you have no proof, no way to see if someone has stolen or has made a genuine mistake. With no way to track what has happened, you’re left doubting all your staff, leaving a horrible feeling in the workplace. Without CCTV you leave yourself vulnerable and your staff open to false accusations.
With CCTV, you can relax knowing your business is protected and you have control in these kinds of situations.
However, when used improperly you can find CCTV creates all sorts of problems from complaints from neighbours, to unhappy staff that feel they are being spied on.
That is why it’s important to follow the guidelines and properly understand how you legally can use CCTV.
We have created a guide on the do’s and don’ts when it comes to the regulations of CCTV in the workplace.
What can I use CCTV for in my business?
1. To give yourself some security
Having CCTV can give you a real sense of security, as even the presence of CCTV cameras can deter any unwanted attention from your property. When you’re away from your business overnight or on holiday, you can relax knowing you have surveillance in place. With many CCTV systems, you can even watch your property from your phone, allowing you to check in at any time.
Having CCTV internally in your business, will gently remind your employees to be on their best behaviour; if you have any missing stock, money or other issues you have a better chance of tracking what has happened. This allows you to have better control over your business and be confident that you know what is happening even when you aren’t there.
CCTV also gives your staff a stronger sense of security, as when dealing with customers, they have proof on how they handled the situation, giving them protection from any false accusations. In the situation of a pub, management can also see if a situation is getting heated or a fight is breaking out; so that they can raise the alarm and get back up if required before it escalates too far.
Having CCTV in place can hold people accountable; protecting your staff, customers and ultimately you and your business.
2. CCTV can improve Health and Safety in your workplace
When running a business, you can’t be everywhere at once, but with CCTV you have the opportunity to monitor your staff and help keep them safe. Whether you have people who monitor your cameras around your facility, or if you just check them yourself while in the office, it allows checks to be made to ensure that your staff are safe. And if one of them has an accident that goes unnoticed by colleagues, you yourself could see this via the CCTV stream, and provide them with the help needed.
CCTV is also proven to reduce the risk of violence in the workplace, making it a vital tool in keeping your staff safe particularly in a customer facing business.
Having CCTV allows you to monitor what happens when you aren’t around, and you can see if health and safety procedures are being followed properly. If there is a breach in the health and safety procedures, resulting in an accident, you have proof of what has happened.
If your business relies heavily on machinery, then CCTV can be used to monitor everything to make sure it’s working as it should be. It can detect changes in conditions or potential problems, allowing you to react quickly and efficiently. It also allows you to monitor problems from afar without having to send anyone into a potentially dangerous situation.
3. CCTV can reduce your Insurance Premiums for your Business
With some insurance companies you can reduce your premium, by installing CCTV as it has been proven to reduce theft and fraudulent accident claims. Reductions on your insurance are likely to vary between providers and can depend on what kind of CCTV system you have, i.e.- indoor or outdoor cameras. If you want to know if you will qualify you for a discount, then you can contact business insurance providers before installing anything to see what they will be able to offer you.
What are the Regulations on CCTV in your business?
1. Following Data Protection laws when installing CCTV
In order to comply with current Data Protection laws you must contact the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office), which can be done through www.gov.co.uk website. You will need to explain how you plan to use CCTV and why you are using it.
You must also inform staff & customers that you have CCTV in place; staff induction policies and clear signage for customers will usually suffice. In addition you should control and monitor who has access to the recordings to ensure that footage remains secure.
While there are different regulations considered in ensuring the legality of CCTV, the guidelines set by ICO cover most of what you need to know and are legally enforceable. Failing to follow them could see you facing a large fine and other legal trouble.
2. Following Human Rights laws when installing CCTV
You should make your employees aware that the right to privacy includes them whilst working in the public sector. And employees should judge whether the CCTV is appropriate.[a]
In simple terms, you have to respect your employees having the right to privacy. Avoid having cameras in your toilets, staff room and any changing area. Having cameras in the main areas, entrance and exits, is acceptable and wouldn’t be something employees could easily argue against by citing the human rights act.
Ensure your monitoring of employees is not intrusive and keep employees informed of when, why and where they are being monitored.
3. Following the Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) when installing CCTV
This act allows members of the public to request access to CCTV footage through public authority’s. You must then provide the appropriate images; however you can refuse on the grounds of having others private information on the footage. [b]
Now the Data Protection Act has been brought in line with the Freedom of Information Act, most requests will be filed under the DPA.
How to manage the risk of CCTV in your business responsibly?
In order to keep yourself, your business and staff safe you must use CCTV in a legal, fair and safe manner. There are precautions you can put in place to ensure you do just this.
1. Include the information about CCTV in staff contracts
In the way you mention the possibility of being filmed during a mystery shopper, you could also mention that your staff will be filmed on CCTV while they sign their contracts. This ensures both you and your new staff member[c] both have an understanding that will be recorded and you have an official record that they agreed to this.
While you should also make sure you have clear signage regarding CCTV in the workplace, having this conversation when a new employee joins you ensures that you know they are aware of the use of CCTV in the workplace and can avoid issues in the future.
2. Ensure you explain why you use it
Keep it clear to staff that you use the CCTV for their protection as well as to protect the business. This will allow them to understand why it is important and will leave them feeling less like they are being watched and more like they are being protected. You should also use clear signs, to indicate to the public or visitors to your business where the cameras are and that they are in operation.
3. Be careful with where you place cameras
If your property has neighbouring businesses or homes, then you need to ensure your camera doesn’t point into their property. Make sure you don’t point or position cameras in places such as toilets which could affect staff privacy.
4. Dispose of Footage correctly
The law states you should only keep footage as long as required, and while this is a flexible time scale, most businesses ensure they dispose of footage after 30-90 days. However certain industry time scales differ including banks who keep footage for up to six months. Investigate what the standard time length is for the sector you are in before making an informed choice about when to dispose of your footage.
Ensure that you properly delete footage that you no longer need, if you are unsure how to use this on your operating system then contact your current installer.
Using CCTV in the workplace can have huge benefits for your business and your own headspace, as you’ll finally be able to relax knowing there’s something watching over your property even when you aren’t there. If you ensure you follow regulations properly then you can find CCTV will relieve your worries, not add to them.
If you want more information about how to go about having CCTV installed, get in touch and we will be more than happy to help….