We are asked regularly what the regulations and/or laws are regarding CCTV footage in Nightclubs and Bars in the UK, specifically how long they must keep them and also the regulations regarding storage and proper usage.
The laws which apply to the storage of information is The Data Protection Act (1998) which is designed to prevent the misuse of personal information. Legal obligations are placed on anybody who handles this type of information. The Data Protection Act protection provides a means of regulatory control on the use of CCTV to ensure that individuals may enjoy security of their safety and possessions whilst being assured that rights to personal privacy will not be unduly compromised.
Any business that keeps records of customers’ details, or uses a CCTV system, may need to register with the Information Commissioner.
How long should we keep our CCTV Footage?
A retention time of 31 days has commonly been used for most CCTV applications and is still recommended by police. In reality though, it may be appropriate to make your decision on the retention times according to the likely severity of the incident that requires monitoring. For example, a town centre or other large scheme that may capture details of a serious crime or major incident should retain all footage for 31 days.
In the event of a major incident it may prove valuable to the Police to be able to review the video of the days, hours and minutes prior to the event as well as of the event itself. However, it may not always be necessary for the owners of small premises to retain all data for 31 days, as the events captured are likely to be less serious in nature, or are ‘one-off’ incidents. In these cases a minimum retention time of 14 days could be recommended, as this provides sufficient time for the authorities to attend the scene and retrieve the video in the event of an incident, but respects the advice of the Information Commissioner that data should not be retained for longer than necessary.
CCTV – The Benefits
From an insurance perspective, CCTV can certainly help in defending claims from patrons who claim they have slipped and tripped, who claim they have been assaulted in your venue, or by helping to prove that an individual was already drunk when entering the establishment – if they are visibly drunk then by rights the venue should not have allowed them entry &/or served them alcohol.
Many of these types of claims may well be spurious either wholly or in part, the process of retaining CCTV footage of incidents which may give rise to claims in the future can prove invaluable when seeking to discredit any allegations made against your business at a later date. We would recommend copying any footage of such incidents onto a separate tape or disc as your customers can put forward claim proceedings for a period for 3 years after the alleged incident.
In addition, CCTV can act as a good deterrent against theft and fraud by unscrupulous customers and staff alike. With the levels of credit and debit card fraud on the increase good CCTV coverage can greatly assist in ensuring your venue does not become a target for any organised or opportunist criminals. In addition the CCTV coverage in your venue can also assist in encouraging staff to work in a more efficient manner which will reduce the wastage for your business and highlight areas where issues may have previously arisen.you be subject to investigation. Second, keep them up to date. Training is not a one off exercise but needs to be updated and refreshed regularly.
We can help you with all of the above, please contact us for more information.