Blake Fire and Security Systems

Covert Surveillance Cameras - Everything Businesses Need To Know

Date: 12 December 2016

Are you a concerned business owner that suspects criminal activity in the workplace?

Whether it's the new employee stealing from the cash register or the customer service adviser being verbally abusive to the customers, covert surveillance cameras may be able to pick up on evidence that your standard CCTV system cannot.

Covert cameras are becoming a more widely accepted form of surveillance due to the rising crime rates and the need for businesses to take a stealthier approach.

But don't be fooled into thinking you can stick hidden surveillance equipment in your office without telling the staff and get away with it.

There are strict rules governing covert surveillance cameras for business use! Outlined below are some of the most important ones so you don't wind up in court - with the criminals you are trying to catch!

First things first - what is a covert surveillance camera?

Essentially, it's a hidden or disguised security camera. The first option is a miniature camera that you may have seen on TV shows like Rogue Traders. They can be clipped on to your clothing and go virtually unnoticed.

The other option is to have a covert camera that is disguised as a larger object, such as a smoke detector, an alarm or even a clock.

Sharp CCTV image.jpg

When are covert cameras in the workplace justifiable?

As it stands, there is list of rules and regulations for having regular overt CCTV cameras in the workplace, such as ensuring all employees know they are under surveillance and the correct signage is in place.

So, as you can probably imagine, the list of laws for hidden cameras only gets longer... explains that you can only monitor staff without their knowledge if:

  • you suspect they're breaking the law
  • letting them know they are being monitored would make it hard to detect the crime

Other important factors employers should consider are:

  • the CCTV system is being used within the guidelines of the UK Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA)
  • covert surveillance is only carried out for a set time frame as part of a specific and legitimate investigation
  • the intrusion on innocent workers
  • areas that are expected to remain private (such as staff changing rooms and toilets)

So, a covert hidden camera should only be used in the case that the business owner suspects a specific crime, such as theft, or extreme malpractice and has full intention to involve the police.

Without these intentions, secret monitoring amounts to unlawful infringement of an employee's human rights in the workplace.

Under the Human Rights Act 1998, individuals have the right to a private life and private correspondence, so we're protected by some pretty powerful laws, which are not the sort you want to break.

Get professional help!

It's always best to get an expert in, somebody who has the experience and knowledge to help you catch the culprit without you ending up in jail yourself.

The best way to do this is to look for a security company that has the right accreditations and experience to help you deal with your problem.

Never do it yourself, it's just not worth the risk.

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