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The Home Office Guide To CCTV Best Practices

Posted by Lia Tappin
4th May 2015

The government, or more specifically Home Office, wants to help small businesses to grow. CCTV is important when owning any business, to protect not just physical objects but also personal information. Home Office released a guide all about CCTV for small businesses and what you should be looking for in a CCTV system. You can see the guide itself online, but below we will give a brief overview of the guide and include extra comments.

It starts with an introduction mentioning code of practice that was to come into force in the summer of 2013. This code is to protect the public but also uphold civil liberties. It then goes on to talk about what CCTV can do for you and your customers, talking about poor security systems and how the camera used depends on the layout of the room. There are thousands of various CCTV camera in the world and all are unique and have specific features for certain instances. No matter what, you want to make sure that every corner is covered, blind spots can lead to theft.

The guide then moved onto the benefits of a good quality CCTV system such as crime detection, staff/public safety, crime reduction and shop management. The first three go without saying, just the presence of a camera (on or off) can dramatically reduce the crime rate. When it comes to shop management, CCTV helps to monitor your staff and anything that goes on around the shop. Keeping in the loop is essential when you’re looking after a shop, if something goes under the radar you are responsible.

Next we talk about what you need in a CCTV system. You need to be able to identify, recognise or observe. You need to be able to identify should you catch a criminal in the act, recognise people well enough that you know who they are (such as staff) and observe the shop/space in general. You can then see a diagram of a generic site plan, giving you guidance on what kind of CCTV you need for various parts of your shop. For example, wherever there is money the CCTV needs to be able to identify the people there. They then list 3 standards that need to be met with your system:

  • At least 1 camera must show and record high quality images.
  • The video signal from the cameras needs to record at 6 frames a second.
  • Recorded images need to be similar to live view, with little to no compression.

Things to avoid when installing a camera is having the camera too high, obscuring the view of the camera, having a view that is too wide to identify vehicles or having a subject strongly backlit. We then move onto storage and retention, what images should be kept and for how long. It’s recommended that you keep a minimum of 14 days worth of material for smaller CCTV systems. You need to also make sure that all of these images are easy to review and remove as evidence for the police. As long as your system can quickly export video footage you should be okay, you’ll also need to include software needed to view or replay footage.

And that’s it! The guide itself does go into further detail about each section, so we would highly recommend reading that if you’d like to know more. If, however, you’re ready to invest in CCTV for your business you can get in touch with us today.

Posted by Lia Tappin
4th May 2015