The laws and restrictions when installing security cameras

The laws and restrictions when installing security cameras

Imagine this:

You’ve just bought yourself a shiny new security camera.

Happy with your purchase, you get it installed on the front of your house.

A few weeks later an official in a boring black tie and boring leather briefcase knocks at your door.

They say the camera you’ve installed breaches privacy laws and you need to take it down.


If you’re thinking about installing security cameras , the last thing you want to do is break the law.

After all, crime prevention’s the whole reason you’ve got them.

So, if you’re putting up security cameras on your home, business or way out in the sticks, you need to know if it’ll comply with rules and regulations.

Everyone’s scenarios are different.

Laws will affect where you can install a security camera in the following scenarios.

  • Private property
  • Property with public access
  • On a listed building or conservation area
  • On a business
  • On a building where you’re a tenant
  • On the building you’re the landlord of

That’s more or less everyone.

But don’t worry. It’s not illegal to put up a security camera.

It all comes down to privacy.


Security Cameras on Private Properties

You’re looking to get a camera because there’s been some dodgy activity in your area.

Or you’re curious about what goes on whilst you’re away.

Putting a security camera up on your private property is a great idea.

It’ll help police secure convictions.

Give you peace of mind.

And deter criminals from attempting a theft.

It’s perfectly legal to install security cameras on your property if due care is taken.

What do we mean by due care?

It means, make sure your cameras don’t penetrate someone’s private space.

If your camera is pointed directly at another person’s property. They could have a case against you under legislation by the human rights act.

You can be accused of violating their privacy and your security camera is as good as harassment.

Fairly strong words, but don’t let them put you off.

You can easily avoid this by making sure your security camera’s focus is on your own property.

You’re under no legal obligation to let your neighbours know you’ve installed a security camera.

If you’re going to put a camera on your property to improve it’s security, you have nothing to worry about.

And should a neighbour be the victim of a break-in, they may end up thanking you.


Security Cameras in Public Areas

There could be a footpath running through your farm. Or your gardens are open to the public.

Public access to private areas is an uncomfortable compromise.

You’re well within your right to put up security cameras.

After all, you don’t know who these people are wandering around your home.

Your intention is to capture images of people’s faces, in case they pinch something.

The face is an identifiable feature of a human … most of the time. This means it’s protected by GDPR.

Therefore, you must tell these people you’re recording them using security cameras.

The solution is very straightforward.

Where your security cameras are recording, just put up a ‘CCTV in operation’ sign, that’s easy to spot and read.

The more the merrier.

If it’s not obvious whose cameras they are, like in a public car park, some extra signage with the information and contact details will cover you.

And that’s all you’ll need to do.


Security Cameras on Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas

Planning permission, boo!

As an owner of a listed building, you know how frustrating it can be when you want to do anything.

Unless you want to get a wrap on the knuckles by the planning authority, you’ll need to follow the rules.

Every area is different. But you’ll need planning consent to install or upgrade your security.

So, to make sure you’re covering everything, contact your local authority. And if you live in a designated conservation area we strongly advise you to do this.

That way you’ll get the right guidance.

To give your security system the best opportunity of being approved, you should know what the planning authority look at.

They’ll decide how the upgraded security will impact on the significance or the historic building or site.

Any changes to listed properties need consent, that includes security measures.

All the advice you need about this can be found on the English Heritage website.


Security Cameras for Landlords

As a landlord, you’re well within your rights to install security cameras to protect your property.

That includes indoors and outdoors.

Although a line is drawn when it comes to privacy.

As a landlord, you can’t put up cameras anywhere inside the residence.

So, if it’s an apartment block. You can put cameras in shared apartment hallways.

But you can’t put them inside your tenant’s home.

This would infringe on their reasonable expectation of privacy. Read this article to find out the difference between common and private areas.

When it comes to the outside, it’s fair game. Your cameras must be positioned so they are visible and not hidden. But that’s it.

Here are a few best practices you can follow to make sure everyone’s happy:

  • Notify the tenant of cameras by including them in the lease agreement.
  • Make sure that cameras are fully visible.
  • Don’t install security cameras anywhere inside the property.
  • Respect the tenant’s “reasonable expectation of privacy”.


Security Cameras for Tenants

When it comes to renting, sometimes it’s not clear what you can or can’t do.

If you’re renting your property, you come under the same category as private properties.

You can install security cameras where you like.

So long as it covers your leased area.

That includes:

  • Inside your home
  • Your parking space
  • Your front door
  • Your garden

We advise you use wireless cameras to avoid causing any damage to the property.

Like with private properties, take extra care not to point your cameras at your neighbour’s property.

If the cameras aren’t impinging on someone’s boundary, you’ll be ok.


Security Cameras for Business

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in.

Security cameras play an important role in securing your business and its employees.

Everyone should feel safe at work.

CCTV cameras are a great crime deterrent. And they can help you spot health and safety incidents.

However, there are some rules to make sure your business isn’t doing anything naughty.

When installing CCTV in your business:

  • You must register your details with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
  • And pay a protection fee.

If you don’t pay the fee, you might get a big fine for breaching CCTV at work guidelines.

Next, you’ll need to make sure your employees know it’s there.

Signage will do.

As with other areas in this article, you’ve got to avoid private areas.

That means no security cameras in toilets or changing rooms.

Your cameras will also need to be visible.

Hidden cameras are only permitted if you suspected someone of criminal activity.

A bit of bureaucracy is all you must do.

Once that’s done you can secure your business without issue.



You’ll have noticed a common theme running through this article.

Security cameras can go anywhere. If you respect people’s privacy.

And when you install a camera in a public place, be transparent.

Just make sure these points are covered when you put up your new security:

  • Your cameras don’t overlook someone else’s private property.
  • Cameras are visible in public areas.
  • There are no cameras in private areas, such as in office toilets or a tenant’s property.
  • Clear signage tells the public there are cameras in operation.
  • As a business, you’re registered with the IOC.

Remember, it’s all about privacy!

So long as your cameras don’t infringe on a person’s privacy, that man in the boring tie with the boring briefcase will stay sitting in his boring office.

You don’t need to compromise on your camera’s position to appease regulations.

A well-installed camera will make all the difference.

It will comply with legislation, and you’ll get the most out of your security system.

Follow these installation tips to optimise your security camera’s performance.


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  • Robert says...

    Do you supply covert / portable cameras that can be used to detect fly-tipping? Can you let me know either way? Many thanks


    On April 28, 2023
  • Martyn Horn says...

    Could I have contact details for ico


    On February 27, 2023

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