Considering installing CCTV in your licenced premises. Read these guidelines by solicitor Andy Grimsey
There have been genuine concerns expressed that in certain licensing authority areas standard CCTV conditions are finding themselves on many Premises Licences irrespective of the nature and type of the operation. More worryingly, when the police recommend these sometime complex conditions, Council Licensing Authorities, legal advisers and operators often accept these conditions without necessarily asking the Police to justify their request.
The trade and authorities must be aware that the addition of any conditions to a premises licence must be appropriate and proportionate to promote the licensing objectives. If a premises has no history of crime and disorder then it could be argued that this blanket approach to imposing standard CCTV conditions on all licences in an authority area is purely to snoop on, rather than prevent crime and disorder or protect, the public.
Often, as part of the condition the police stipulate a requirement that all footage must be made available to them immediately on request. The Data Protection Act 1988, the Information Commissioners CCTV and the Home Office Surveillance Camera Codes of Practice make it clear that any request for CCTV footage must be proportionate and have a legitimate aim.
Disclosure is only permitted for the prevention and detection of crime, prosecution, apprehension of offenders or if it is required by law, for example, checking that the system is being used in accordance with conditions on a Premises Licence. The Police must therefore justify their request for CCTV footage. Disclosure should not be automatically provided to the Police for them to undertake any type of intrusive or speculative search.
However, there is real value in installing a CCTV system and many operators see the benefits, even though they may not be necessarily required to do so under the provisions of their Premises Licence.
Below are a few guidelines as to what should be considered if you have or are considering installing CCTV:
(1) Properly operate the CCTV system.
(2) Provide viewing immediately on request, but in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1988;
(3) Provide copies of footage, again in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1988.
Many take a view that the installation of a CCTV system and its proper use should not be purely to comply with conditions on a Premises Licence. The use of an effective security system not only protects the business and detects crime and disorder but assists in protecting and giving comfort to members of staff and the public.
A CCTV system also has an obvious use in that advertising it use helps to deter those intent on causing a nuisance or committing crime and disorder.
For further information please contact licensing solicitor, Andy Grimsey on 0115 953 8500.
Photo used under Licence from Creative Commons
Author: Paul Vlaar