Continually hearing stories on the News about people being attacked in their homes has led to the perception that the world has become less safe. This, in turn, has amplified the public’s need to put in place a variety of security measures.
Some will decide to make it harder to scale their perimeter fences with the judicious use of trellis and prickles, whilst others will opt for canine protection with a guard dog. But for many, the route that makes them feel happiest is the installation of electronic surveillance and security equipment.
As a result, sales of CCTV Systems for the home and the office in Kent have increased steadily over the last few years. The composition of these installations can range from a single lens sited above the front door to a series of multiple cameras placed both inside and outside the property or premises, recording digitally onto a hard drive with built in CD/DVD writer.
The most obvious reason for installing a CCTV System is as a deterrent, since thieves who are actively looking for properties to burgle will be far less likely to pick yours if the house next door does not have an obvious CCTV camera keeping an eye on what is going on within its lens’s reach.
Another great point in favour of having CCTV cameras fitted externally is that, if you do get burgled or there is anti-social activity in the street outside, the images captured can be submitted to the police or local council and provide a useful piece of evidence to assist in tracking down the culprits involved.
With the various high profile cases concerning prosecutions for retaliation by homeowners in the News recently, the value of preventing such crimes applies equally to rural properties and those in suburban areas. An Englishman’s home is no longer his castle when it comes to intruders and the law and the grey areas make it hard to know what you are legally allowed to do to defend yourself against interlopers, especially in the heat of the moment when the fight or flight reflex kicks in.
Whether you live in an isolated farmhouse miles off the beaten track or the built up outskirts of a major town or city, a spy camera linked to an internal recording device that can monitor anyone coming near your property can make any potential felon think again about coming under the watchful scrutiny of that little black lens. If no one tries to get in to start with, there is no reason for you to have to fight anyone off to protect yourself or your belongings – with the resulting legal consequences.
However, there are also rules governing the positioning of the cameras involved in any closed circuit surveillance system. For shops and offices, the Data Protection Act also applies to the installation of CCTV and it is now a legal requirement for operators to register their system with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. It is also advisable to put up clearly visible signs so that the public are aware that they are entering an area that is covered by surveillance equipment. These should also tell the public who is responsible for the system with a contact telephone number.
Having said that, recent information from the Information Commissioner’s Office cites a court case which affects whether certain CCTV activities are covered by the Data Protection Act, particularly where it relates to users of basic CCTV systems. If you operate cameras that cannot be moved remotely, which just record on video tape whatever the cameras pick up and which only give the recorded images to the police to investigate an incident in their shop, you should contact the Data Protection Commissioner as you may be exempt.
All operators are advised to consult the latest advice from the ICO for further guidance since they are conducting an extensive review of the existing CCTV Code of Practice to make sure that it is kept up to date with technological and other developments. For more information on CCTV and the Law.
To comply with these privacy laws in a domestic setting, you must make sure that your cameras are not pointed at public space or other people’s houses or gardens. In any event, it is always a good idea to discuss your CCTV system plans with your neighbours, not just to be polite but because they might agree to share a system with you and split the costs, so it’s worth a conversation, if only for the sake of good relations.
The great thing about the newer closed circuit surveillance systems is that it is possible to view what is happening at your property through a TFT monitor inside the building or through your laptop whilst anywhere in the world via a computer network or fixed IP address. And, an extension of that is to have a security company monitor things for you 24/7, alerting you or the local emergency services immediately if one of your sensors is activated. Whether you own a home or a business in Kent, CCTV systems are a valuable aid to preventing criminals from entering your building.
Spy Alarms are a family-run business in the heart of Kent who have been installers of CCTV Systems and other intruder alarm equipment for over [spy-age] years.