When is CCTV use appropriate?

Popular culture has cast a negative shadow over CCTV usage, to the extent that it is often seen as an ‘invasion of privacy’. But when used correctly, video monitoring can save money, property, and even lives; offering an impartial eye of a situation that would otherwise be missing.

But with smart CCTV becoming more prevalent and a prevalent culture of mistrust, when is CCTV use appropriate?

Too much or not enough?

When it comes to installing CCTV for your business, it’s often not a question of whether you should or shouldn’t but how fast you should go with it.

Modern CCTV is much clearer and more reliable than the grainy footage it was once known for with HD cameras that can capture film-quality results and backup hundreds or thousands of hours of that recorded material either locally or via the cloud.

This is technology we couldn’t have even dreamt of in the 20th century and it can mostly be achieved via a single, unobtrusive camera in most situations.

By placing cameras in many places, you run the risk of making customers and employees feeling uneasy, so try to limit the number of cameras and place them strategically so they can see everything, but won’t necessarily be noticed.

Millennial indifference

Many young people now entering the workplace for the first time have grown up in the social media age and are quite used to being monitored at all times.

They are likely quite callous to the fact that every online interaction they have is being recorded and used as marketing data because they’ve never known any different. For these people, CCTV is just another monitoring tool that they are likely to be quite indifferent towards.

So, if your staff is mostly made up of under 30s, you might not need to temper your CCTV use as much as if your staff were mainly over the age of 40. This is a generation that capture and share everything; they often have a very different concept of privacy and might not even notice another camera or three in the office.

Schoolyard surveillance

There can be few more sensitive situations regarding surveillance than when it comes to schools. However, we live in troubling times where many kids think nothing of bringing knives to school in certain areas.

Additionally, any school planning to utilise CCTV will need to have a solid CCTV policy in place. In a pre-GDPR world, it was recognised that CCTV recording was used for securing the school property and its students, however, now that GDPR is on the tips of every parent’s tongue, it’s more vital than ever that great care is taken during installation and operation.

Location is perhaps the most pressing concern, with great care obviously to be taken to ensure the privacy of your students is not being violated.

So, you should certainly steer clear of bathrooms and changing rooms and should always be fixed, as if they can be moved they are likely to be trained on certain individuals. The only staff members with access to the system should be the headmaster and perhaps a dedicated security expert.

An access log should also be maintained and a justifiable recording retention period should be set. Also, remember that in a criminal case you will have to hand your recordings over to an enforcement authority.

Asking the right questions

Ultimately, whether or not your business requires CCTV will depend on various factors and deciding where you sit on the matter means asking the right questions. Such as, will my employees mind? Have I asked for permission from the right people? Are there any surrounding properties that might take umbrage with them? Is the cost worth it? Answer these questions truthfully and you should have your answer.