CCTV

CCTV in the community

CCTV camera systems are installed within areas of the borough where crime and disorder and community safety priorities exist. Working closely with Thames Valley Police and other partners, the CCTV team operates 24/7x 365 delivering a full range of community focussed services including the operation of more than 70 fixed site and seven high quality redeployable wireless CCTV camera systems which are installed in response to changing crime priorities within the borough. The CCTV Operators also use and manage the Slough Town Against Crime (STAC) retail and Pub Watch radio systems.

The Control Centre is fully compliant with all relevant legislation and Codes of Practice for CCTV; all staff being fully trained and qualified Control Room Operators. The CCTV teams are also enhanced CRB checked and Police vetted for access to Police radio, briefing and data networks.

The Slough Borough Council CCTV system underwent a major refurbishment and upgrade programme in 2013. The Centre boasts a state of the art digital video monitoring and recording system capable of producing high quality video evidence for the identification of suspects and the prosecution of offenders. We are also able to monitor remote alarm systems, out of hours key holding, Lone Worker and emergency contact services.

The CCTV Service can be contacted on 01753 875895.

CCTV to protect your home- use of CCTV in private residences

The rules regarding how you use CCTV to protect your home have been updated (2015).

If your CCTV system is capturing footage of individuals outside your property, then you will no longer be exempt from the Data Protection Act.

However, regardless of whether your CCTV system is exempt, the Information Commissioners Office [ICO], recommends that you use CCTV in a responsible way to protect the privacy of others.

How can I use CCTV on my property responsibly?

The guiding principle throughout the deployment of your CCTV equipment should be checking at each stage that its use is necessary and not disproportionate. For example – ask yourself:

  • Do I really need a camera to address my security concerns?
  • Would extra lighting or sensor lighting be as effective?
  • Is there an alternative to a camera?
  • Is there anyone who could advise me about alternatives?
  • What is the most privacy friendly way to set it up?
  • Can I avoid intruding into my neighbours’ property?
  • What if my camera captures footage of individuals beyond the boundaries of my property?

You must consider whether it is necessary for your camera to operate beyond the boundary of your property.

If your camera covers, even partially, any areas beyond the boundaries of your property, such as neighbouring gardens or the street, then it will no longer be exempt from the Data Protection Act (DPA) under the domestic purposes exemption. This does not mean you are breaching the DPA but it does mean that you are subject to it.

What can I do to make sure that what I’m doing complies with the DPA?

First, think about the problem you are trying to address and the best solution to it. This will usually be to safeguard you and your property against crime. Check your local police advice about crime prevention. Better locks or security lighting may be a more effective and less expensive way of securing your property.

If you decide to use CCTV cameras, you should:

  • Consider what areas would need to be covered by it, will the camera capture images you actually need and how you will safeguard any recorded images so they can be used by the police to investigate crimes affecting you.
  • Consider whether you can put up signs clearly explaining that recording is taking place and take steps to do so if it is practical.
  • Have appropriate safeguards in place to ensure the equipment is only operated in the ways you intend and can’t be misused. At its simplest, this means that anyone you share your property with, such as family members who could use the equipment, need to know how important it is not to misuse it.
  • Ensure you have activated settings to enable the security of footage captured by the CCTV system and that any recordings of individuals are held securely. Make sure you only allow access to people who need it.
  • Consider speaking to your neighbours and explain what you are doing and any objections or suggestions they have. (It may be useful to invite your neighbours to view the footage you capture, this may allay any concerns they may have about your use of a CCTV system).
  • Consider purchasing equipment that enables you to control what you can record. This will enable you to keep privacy intrusion to a minimum.

You should remember that your use of a CCTV system may be appropriate but publicly uploading or streaming footage of individuals will require further justification and in most cases will not be justifiable.

As the data controller for this footage, individuals do have the right to request a copy of it from you under the DPA, if you collect their personal data.

What other considerations are there?

If you cannot rely on the domestic purposes exemption you are subject to a number of requirements in the Data Protection Act. This includes a requirement to notify the ICO that you are a data controller.

Please disable any audio recording facility. Many CCTV systems now come with audio recording facilities. Audio recording is particularly privacy intrusive and in the vast majority of cases where CCTV is being used on domestic properties it should be disabled.

Contact the Information Commissioners Office (ICO)

If you are currently using or considering a CCTV system which is capturing or is likely to capture footage outside the boundary of your property you must contact the ICO on 0303 123 1113.

You can also find more information on the ICO website, which provided the information above.

See also CCTV - Crime Prevention Website.