CCTV Laws For Commercial Premises


The need for CCTV has increased drastically over the past few years for the commercial sector and it has become a vital part of security on commercial premises.

A report from the Home Office indicates that wholesale and retail premises are most at risk. In their report, one of the statistics states 13,426 crimes occurred per 1,000 premises. You can find more here about our retail CCTV systems and installation service.

When you are thinking of installing CCTV at your commercial premises it is not just the CCTV system and its features you have to think about, you also have to make sure you are aware of the laws and regulations for recording, storing and sharing CCTV images.

Data Protection Laws

There are three important laws to know when it comes to operating CCTV on commercial premises and these are:

  • Data Protection Act (DPA)
  • ICO Code of Practice for CCTV systems (ICO)
  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 

The Data Protection Act

The Data Protection Act provides guidance for companies on how to use personal data that is gathered from CCTV.  The act includes regulating the processing of personal data, protecting the rights of the data subject, allowing the ICO the enforce rules and holding companies liable for fines in the event of a breach of the rules.

There is a list of specific rules that companies must follow when installing CCTV on their commercial premises:

  • Put up a sign to let people know CCTV is being used and why.
  • In most circumstances, be able to provide images within 1 calendar month to anyone you’ve recorded.
  • Share images with the authorities, such as the police, if they ask for them.
  • Keep images only if your business needs them.
  • Pay a data protection fee, this means you must pay a data protection fee to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if you’re a business, organisation or sole trader processing personal data, unless you’re exempt.

You can see more information on the law on the government website under CCTV installation at your commercial property – GOV.UK (

ICO Code of Practice for CCTV Systems

The ICO has lots of useful information regarding the use of CCTV and it is worth a read if you plan on using CCTV for your business. One of the areas they provide advice on is effectively administrating CCTV to comply with the Data Protection Act. The ICO released a revised CCTV Code of Practice in 2008 to make sure businesses are aware of best practice when using CCTV, below are some of the guidelines:

  • You must consider other options before installing CCTV and being able to state why you think you needed CCTV.
  • You cannot film irrelevant places like toilets or staff rooms. It is important to remember the specific reason that you are using the CCTV for.
  • Each year assess the impact your CCTV system has on people’s privacy and make any adjustments to minimise this.
  • Identify whether you will be using a CCTV system to identify individuals i.e. capture facial features which make a person recognisable.

You can read more information regarding the ICO on their website and also go through their helpful CCTV checklist report.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 

CCTV also falls under GDPR as personal data includes any data that can identify a person which includes pictures and images. There are a number of rules to follow called Data Protection Principles:

  • Be transparent and inform people they are being recorded – make sure people know they are being recorded so if they choose to they can exercise their data subject rights.
  • State the specific purpose of the CCTV – Under GDPR you have to explain what specific reason you are using CCTV for.
  • Control who has access to CCTV – it has to be made sure that CCTV footage is handled in a way that ensures privacy and security. Images should only be accessible to those who need to view them for the purpose of their job.
  • Footage that is not needed should be deleted – Footage should not be kept for any longer than necessary. This is why every company should have a set retention period that footage is kept for, and once it passes the retention period and not needed it should be deleted.

Compliance with CCTV Laws and Rules for Commercial Premises

Although it can first seem a bit complicated when your fist read the laws and rules surrounding commercial CCTV, compliance is actually quite simple if you know the laws and follow their guidance. A few general tips are:

  • Make sure you are up to date with the latest law and rules for commercial CCTV.
  • Make sure a trustworthy member of the team is in charge of controlling the CCTV.
  • Ensure everyone who is captured on your CCTV in aware including any premises/properties that are captured.

Free CCTV Installation Advice

If you need help and advice on installing CCTV at your commercial premises call our team directly on 01492 547997 or send us an email to [email protected] and we will be happy to offer free CCTV advice.