CCTV in the workplace

There are estimated to be 5.2m CCTV cameras in the UK, one for every 13 people and 96% are operated by businesses and individuals.

CCTV in the workplace can help to deter and reduce crime and provide a more secure environment for employees, but it is also important that employers consider both an individual’s right to privacy and where CCTV can and can’t be used in the workplace.

Guidance on the use of CCTV in the workplace from The Information Commissioners Office (ICO), says it should be used when necessary to meet a pressing need, which could include issues of:

•  Staff security

•  Prevention of theft and or vandalism

•  Monitoring employee performance and workplace efficiency

•  Monitoring compliance with health and safety policies and procedures

For monitoring use to be proportionate, prior to its installation, employers should carry out a privacy impact assessment to consider the effect that the monitoring would have, v’s the individuals’ right to privacy.  The business should also consider whether there might be other options to meet the same need, which are less intrusive than CCTV.

Both employees and visitors to the workplace should be informed that recording is taking place, usually by displaying clear signage, and CCTV should be covered in your employee privacy notice.  This notice should also include details about why the recording is taking place and how long it will be kept. Footage should be deleted after this period.

Footage, and the recording equipment should also be kept secure and access to it limited to authorised employees.  Where CCTV uses wireless networks, the ICO recommends signals are encrypted to prevent them from being hacked.

Employees and visitors to the workplace have the right to make a data subject access request to a business and be given access to CCTV footage on which they appear.  The business must respond to this request within one month and must also document all requests for access, when it was granted or if refused, the reason for this.

Before any CCTV footage is released, the business also needs to consider privacy considerations and whether other individuals in the footage need to be blurred to obscure their identity.

Covert recording can rarely be justified by a business unless there is a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or malpractice taking place. Before covert recording takes place, a privacy impact assessment should be carried out to ensure it is both necessary and proportionate. Recording can only take place for as long as is necessary and shouldn’t take place in areas where a genuine and reasonable expectation of privacy exists, such as toilets or changing areas.

Where covert CCTV has been set up to monitor for criminal activity, it cannot then be used for other purposes, for example to monitor employee performance.

If you would like to review or use CCTV in your workplace, get in touch to make sure you have all the correct procedures in place.

Amanda Finn can be contacted at