Q&A - Is it legal to install CCTV to address COVID induced crime in our street?

Q:    Since the COVID pandemic began we have had a lot of burglaries in my area, so I decided to get a CCTV camera. Having put it up, I have now had a complaint from the chap across the way who says I am breaking the law because it is pointing straight at his property. The company I purchased the camera from says that is incorrect. Please can you confirm whether I am breaking the law as this chap is threatening to go to the police about me?

A:    The Data Protection Act 1998, which regulates the use of CCTV, does not cover domestic properties. As a private individual you are therefore legally entitled to install CCTV to protect your property against trespassers and intruders. This includes CCTV with recording and playback facilities. However, you should be able to prove that your camera is positioned so that its primary focus is your own property and the public approaches to it.

If your camera was specifically focused on your neighbour’s property then that would be a different matter as it would be a privacy issue, covered by the Human Rights Act under your rights to privacy. Article 8 of the Act entitled “The Right to Respect for Private and Family Life, Home and Correspondence” would in this instance uphold your neighbour’s claim that you were breaking the law.

It might be a good idea to try and have a friendly chat with your neighbour and explain that you cannot focus on your property and approaches without picking up his property as an aside, but it is a known fact that the installation of just one or two CCTV cameras can have a positive effect in reducing the occurrence of crime and anti-social behaviour in an entire street.

Article 04/12/20

This question has been answered by James Denton, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.

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James Denton

James Denton

Solicitor

Solicitor in our Civil Litigation and Conveyancing departments in our Oswestry & Wrexham office.