Wherever we go about our daily business in the UK these days, it appears that we will never be too far away from being captured on CCTV. For most law abiding citizens, this rarely presents a problem. We have come to recognise CCTV as almost part and parcel of our daily lives.
Many people welcome CCTV on the streets of our towns and cities in the fight against crime. It can also help to secure the convictions of criminals who might have otherwise been able to go about their business and remain undetected.
The Laws Relating to CCTV
The main laws governing the installation and use of CCTV is covered by the Data Protection Act 1998, but this only applies to businesses and organisations and NOT to domestic property. It’s crucial that people recognise that distinction. If you’re concerned about a company’s use of CCTV, that’s a matter for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to deal with under the statutes that have been laid out under the Data Protection Act.
Is it Legal?
Yes, it is perfectly legal as long as due care is taken. Most people who choose to install CCTV at home do so primarily to deter would-be intruders from trespassing onto or breaking into their homes, and this is completely legitimate.
You cannot stop your neightbour from installing a CCTV system or from operating any kind of video recording device, such as a camcorder. For example, Using CCTV At Home can often help police secure a conviction for crimes that have been committed, such as a theft of a car parked outside your home or to identify individuals who are engaging in Anti-Social Behaviour.
That said, in such cases, the CCTV system you might have at home is more likely to act as a deterrent. This is simply because in a residential area would-be criminals are likely to be far more aware of residential CCTV installations, and so are more likely to avoid doing anything which might contravene the law.
In cases of people who are able to provide video evidence of crimes or acts of anti-social behaviour being committed outside their own homes, that will usually come about as a result of some covert filming using a camcorder or digital camera.
When you could be Breaking the Law for Having CCTV at Home
While home installation of CCTV does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Data Protection Act, if the home installation has not been carried out correctly or is being used for a purpose other than for which it was designed, then you may have a case for taking further action under totally different laws.
For example, if you have a camera which is pointed directly at another person’s property or it’s suspected that it can capture part or all of a neighbour’s property, they might have a case to take action against you under legislation covered by the Human Rights Act. They might have sufficient grounds to say that they have had their privacy violated, that your CCTV system is tantamount to harassment and even voyeurism.
In such cases, they can get the police involved if you're not able to come to some agreement with regards to what the camera(s) can capture and to make modifications to the installation, if necessary.
hi all, my downstairs neighbour has installed cctv which directly picksme up, my wife and also my kids everytime we enter our home he also has another pointin out his livingroom window viewing across my land and my driveway. i feel like we are gettin watched everytime i enter or leave my own property not forgettin my kids, its a communal doorstep but surely i have privacy rights ???? any help or info would be greatly recieved,, thanks
beanbasher - 8-Mar-13 @ 7:07 PM
i wana ask a question of law ,the question is ,,,,,,,wether the circumstantial evidence in the foom of CCTV recording is admissable in the court or not?????
dev - 5-Mar-13 @ 6:59 PM
Being thr recipient of a next door neighbour who throws eggs at our house and then denies any
Wrongdoing I am thinking of installing CCTV to prove what is happening.
Do I I havethe right to do this ?
Tickety - 20-Feb-13 @ 8:21 PM
We run a pony trekking centre and our new neighbours have done nothing but complain about everything we do since they moved in 18 months ago. They have phoned SEPA and the council about our muckheap, they have phoned the SSPCA about our horses all multiple times and whenever any one from these organisations comes out there is never a problem. They are rude and abusive to our staff. We are licensed by the council and have been finalists in several tourism awards, so most people seem to think we're doing something right! Recently there have been several small acts of vandalism on the bridge we cross to get to our field - and someone has now placed a huge pile of about 20 dog poos on the bridge! It's just across from their driveway and we know it is them. If we put an animal type camera trap, like those they use in springwatch or something across the stream pointing towards the bridge to catch them doing it, would we be in breach of the law as this is on a public footpath, not private property? There are otters in the stream, so we could be looking for otters too, but just catch them! Any ideas?
unbridled - 27-Jan-13 @ 4:40 PM
we live in a sheltered bungalow with a path running between ours and next doors bungalow to both our back gardens,both bungalows have side windows,she has installed a motion cctv which is watching our every movement and is picking up our side bedroom window,she gets abusive towards me if i try to talk to her,please help with some advice,both bungalows are housing association/council homes,thanks.
wombat - 12-Jan-13 @ 9:09 AM
my neighbour has installed cctv its on the front of his property which im leaving this comment for advice it overlooks their car on the public street and also they keep moving it to the shared gate and pathway im just wondering if they aloud to do that i reakon they use it as a tool they also have audio on it where ive exchanged words and private conversations dont like the idea of it privacy of my living next to these neighbours are not happening :-( even photos of my car and my kids
loopy - 2-Jan-13 @ 11:20 AM
Recently my neighbours have installed CCTV camera with audio on the front of there house. The cameras look directly onto a piece of public council owned land with no roads and only a foot path going through. I am concerned as this land is played on by children aged 1-12 and the camera directly over looks the persons front garden. No signs telling of the CCTV have been put in place and I haven't been notified prior to the camera being installed and I only found out about the cameras when I saw my neighbours computer in his conservatory showing live images. When asked about the CCTV cameras he refuses to reposition them and when asked by numerous parents to delete files showing the children playing or to obscure the faces he refuses by saying he has a right because the children are a nuisance. I don't know what to do because local children don't want to play outside anymore because they fell like there constantly being watched. Please advise me on my legal rights and actions I can take. Thanks
P.V.Mlot - 28-Dec-12 @ 12:17 AM
My neighbour took pictures of me and my partner having sex in my own home, then showed the images to other residents they called the police , the police just advised us to make curtains were closed , but I am now getting kicked out of my home due to upsetting other residents ( I live on a mobile home park )
Benny - 8-Nov-12 @ 9:35 AM
"As mentioned in the article, having a camera pointing directly into your property is an invasion of your privacy and may infringe your human rights. If you feel you can't approach your neighbour about this, contact your local police force for their advice."
This is incorrect.There is no such thing in the UK as invasion of privacy and the Human Rights Act does NOT apply to private individuals.
As far as CCTV cameras are concerned the only acts that are relevant to domestic use are the Protection from Harassment and the Sexual Offences Act.
Sexual Offences covers voyeurism and could be used where a camera is pointed directly into a window that could be claimed as being sexually motivated (although this is still difficult to prosecute as one would assume that any nudity would involve curtains being closed and if a camera can capture such images they could be seen by anyone passing)
The Protection from Harassment Act allows you to claim that the cameras are there for the purpose of "stalking" however once again there are standard defences to such challenges.
If you are going to provide advice please get it right!
Teoto - 7-Nov-12 @ 12:42 AM
Ive been arrast by a family for three yrs there kids sit out side my house not letting my kids leave there own garden thay shout foul words pull faces and just bully my kids I have tried to speak to the parants but thay to just give you abuse its got to the point there shouting thay are going to burn my house down etc so I want cctv fitted with audio so I can catch what thay are saying to show the police am I aloud to do this with out getting in trouble myself I live faceing a field with no one over looking me and would want my camera over looking my garden on to the field where thay hang out would this be ok
booboo - 30-Aug-12 @ 2:22 PM
You can install cctv camera's to monitor your yard to protect property.If its aimed at the public street and not at your neighbors house, you have done nothing wrong.In fact newer homes are being built with monitors already in them.
Alice - 19-Aug-12 @ 7:01 AM
i share a communal garden with 3 other flats all privately owned, recently my neighbour has started spying on me and taking photographs of me while doing the garden as she claims the weeds im picking and trees im trimming were hers first???
no mention of plants etc in deeds so hey ho il continue to trim and weed but is it illegal for her to photograph me?
stephsmitty - 8-Jul-12 @ 10:35 PM
The Police are about useless and so is The Council. My neighbour has his camera up so that it overlooks my bedroom and driveway and I am convinced he is eyeing up children who go to the local school. What can I do now.
Mary - 15-Jun-12 @ 5:36 PM
My mother moved to a new property a year ago and had problem neighbours who would hassle her at night playing silly games Sorted it out last week for her,they said they would make her life very awkward for her , so I went round with some friends of mine to ask if they would leave her alone or their life would change forever, and that they would remember this day for a long time. Low and behold they have. moral of the story. if someone has stick waving it at you get a bigger one , they soon back down.
norco - 14-Jun-12 @ 8:33 AM
I have suspected someone of benefit fraud and witnessed them hiding a car in their garage of the person they have not declared to be living with them. Is it legal for me to video this hiding of the car from a public street ???
shazza - 30-May-12 @ 4:10 PM
I'm renting and have dispute with my neighbour for almost 2 years now. I live on a ground floor flat below her. She often wash her windows by not letting us know in advance where liquid of bleach dripping onto our flat and it smells. Sometime she pour water onto our laundry upstares from her room windows. I'm thinking of setting up my cam corder to record my clean laundry to see if any future evidence.I tried to knock on her door hoping to try to resolved this issue she wouldn't answer her door. Before I do so since is a communal garden is it legal to set it up ? Not to record directly to her flat above me but to record my laundry to see if any evidence. ?
soareagle - 20-May-12 @ 12:22 PM
We have a couple of nasty neighbours long established in the area no doubt with friends in the right places-they watch our house,do drive bys and sit in their car outside our house-watching our house and trespass on our property, for no other reason then bullying intimidation and harrassment,and the females obssession with my husband. we know of this behaviour through our CCTV video recordings , however the local council and community liason officer is treating it like a spat and has actually made excuses for their behaviour and will not prosecute them, due to their age.
we are now assuming these horrible neighbours have friends in the police force too.
What is the law on stalking and tresspass by 50-70 year olds?
hsmith - 13-Apr-12 @ 8:54 PM
I have lived at my property for 2yrs now.At the beginning my neighbour was pretty freindly &made the comment "it's\ nice to have nice neighbour",i should have guessed by this comment & the 1 where she said "she didnt think the old neighbours ever cooked"little did I know I was in for a ride of my life.So far ive been subjected to constant complaining to the police,housing.Ive been recorded for noise level(i wanted to hear c.d but the 1st time housing never brought laptop to listen to it,and 2nd she was just leaving office when realized something wrong with c.d.And a written record of times and days when I make a noise of any kind.If im shouting im apparently abusing her through walls.A thick pg book of it.And now ctv.Ive had authoroties disturbing my neighbours,and no one stops to think how im feeling in all this.I Feel so helpless.and invaded on.As far as this person is concerned she has told 2 people she dosent want to see me breath me ect.Iive on my own and only have family visit,oh I do look after my 3yr grandaughter
nobodylovesme - 9-Apr-12 @ 5:02 PM
Is it within the law to mount a camcorder on a car dashboard to assist proof of liability in the event of an accident
dan - 26-Mar-12 @ 12:53 PM
I have a problem with cars constantly parking outside my front garden and that of my neigbours to sell their drugs, this has only started recently but they show up every other day (different cars and times) What are the laws in setting up some type of survailance to catch them unawares with some sort of video or webcam ?I dont want to be the one that ends up in trouble which is norm when tring to do some good.
killieboy - 13-Mar-12 @ 3:14 PM
Don't know why people have problem with CCTV,the only thing I can think of is they must have something to hide,I don't have any problem because if a crime has been committed no matter how small it can be used to identify the culprits therefore keeping crime of peoples property down,if everyone had CCTV I for one would not be bothered as I have nothing to hide and a car etc to protect.In fact I do have one fitted ,and have had the person opposite complaining, saying it is pointed into his living room,which is not, I told him in no uncertain terms I had no intention of removing it,incidentally he is now in prison serving a sentence ,nothing related to me or my property,just comfirming what I said about having something to hide
smurf - 3-Mar-12 @ 8:13 PM
Our neighbours have their cameras pointing directly at our house. When the police enquired they said it was pointing at their car which is parked outside my home. Go figure.As one other poster said, they are allowed to use it as a tool to harass us. They are obsessed with us!The police do not want to know and they actually said if I got a camera and pointed it at their property I'd be in trouble as they have kids playing in their garden! What's good for the goose is good for the gander.My advice? Give them something to look at (nothing indecent obviously). I pull faces at their cameras and pretend to take pictures of them, it really winds them up!!!
Stoney - 2-Mar-12 @ 11:36 AM
my neighbour has taken down the fence to the side of his property to do some building works leaving the garden unsecured. Last night an intruder got in an my dogs 'saw him off' by barking. Because the fences between our properties are low will I be liable if the intruders get onto my property and the 3 dogs bite/knock him/them down?
stressed out - 20-Feb-12 @ 8:25 PM
My neighbour has a camera pointed into our garden and picks us up when we go out our front door what should we do?
mac - 30-Jan-12 @ 8:19 PM
i live in a bungalow, and my adjoining neighbour has installed a wood burner, all the smoke blows constantly in to my garden, i cannot have my door or any windows open, unable to hang any washing out, because it stinks, i'm also getting a cough, as somehow the smoke is coming in to my home, the enviralmental health people, have near enough said, keep windows and door shut all the time, like a prisoner, what can i do?
glinbo - 23-Jan-12 @ 2:36 PM
PALOMA, ive had the same issue as you for more than 9 years, I was self employed with my own construction firm and lost everything cause I couldn't sleep when I needed too, after years of this I resorted to living in a tent because I was getting weaker and weaker from lack of sleep, young kids partying all night and all day with loud music and intentional banging, and they trying their hardest to make me only be able to sleep when they are asleep, so that not one bit of noise pollution was coming from my home to theirs when they sleep.I spoke to a solicitors firm because even just creaking floorboards kept we awake and that firm told me the landlord is in breach of my tenancy agreement, but for years of complaints the landlord has done nothing, they figure not doing anything is their cheapest option and if it goes to court they could still win on some technicality.My advise, get a top floor flat before you have to suffer this for years.
maga - 5-Jan-12 @ 9:35 PM
How much noise is unreasonable? The young neighbour living above me stomps around the house in a really heavy footed manner. Luckily she does work, but in the evenings the noise is so loud from what I assume is her simply walking around her apartment actually becomes unbearable. As I type this at 1am she is still stomping tonight and I feel like doing that one thing which escalates it all to a war of words, by going up to her floor to remonstrate. I have checked with my neighbours below in case I am inadvertently causing noise myself and they say they seldom hear anything at all from above.I just don't know how reasonable I am supposed to be about heavy footedness!
paloma - 18-Dec-11 @ 12:57 AM
My neighbours cctv sensor picks us up as we are coming and going and it is linked to his computer so he knows when we are coming and going and he refuses to adjust it. he has also been recording us audio and visually with a hand helddevice and say's he is allowed to .is this correct and what can we do about it.
lind - 25-Nov-11 @ 7:28 PM
We are having problems with our neighbour, now he has put a cctv camera right next to our sitting room window in the back garden we have been told by the police that although the camera is facing there side of the fence it is still recording everything we say in our garden and if our windows are open it can pick up what is said in our sitting room. The police say they are allowed to do that, but surely that is an invasion of privacy.
sandy - 12-Oct-11 @ 11:10 PM
I currently have CCTV installed at my domestic property. It is 10 years old and is in need of upgrade. Previous experience with the police has shown that the current system is not capable of reading number plates or providing facial recogition when we have had 3 or 4 problems over the years. I am considering installing a modern tracking camera, that is capable of rectifying these pitfalls, but would obviously follow anyone walking in the vicinity of my home, and possibly my neighbours property. Would you consider this type of camera to be legal in a domestic application in the UK?