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New code prompts advice over CCTV cameras

 

Article date:  03/09/2013

A solicitor with one of the Midland's leading law firms has issued fresh advice for companies who use their own surveillance cameras after the introduction of a new code of practice.

Kate Legg, of Higgs & Sons, says the new code - which applies to public bodies such as the police and local authorities - was a useful guide for any company using CCTV systems.

The Home Office introduced the 12-point code earlier this month amid concerns over the potential for the abuse or misuse of surveillance by the state in public places.

Kate, from Higgs' Commercial department, said the code had several implications for how businesses managed their own use of CCTV in compliance with Data Protection legislation.

"The code says the cameras must be used 'in pursuit of a legitimate aim' and when it 'meets a pressing need'," said Kate.

"It also says that any use of CCTV cameras must take into account the effect on individuals and their privacy, have as much transparency as possible, including a published contact point for access to information and complaints, and have clear rules, policies and procedures in place which must be communicated to all who need to comply with them.

"In terms of businesses using CCTV on their premises, I would recommend that the areas being monitored display adequate notices at eye level or clearly visible locations," said Kate.

"Further, a CCTV policy should be put in place setting out, amongst other things, how long recordings are retained, who has access to the images and how requests for viewing the images are dealt with.

"The use of CCTV is not the only Data Protection consideration that businesses should be aware of.  There are many other factors that should be reviewed in order to ensure compliance with the ever changing Data Protection legislation.

"I would urge any business which has any concerns in this area to seek specialist advice to make sure they are not in breach of the law."

Higgs & Sons works from two offices in the Black Country - Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill and Kingswinford. The firm employs more than 200 people, which includes over 100 specialist lawyers.

For more information in respect of data protection contact Kate Legg at Higgs & Sons on 0854 111 5050 or email kate.legg@higgsandsons.co.uk

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