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CCTV users urged to check camera times

CCTV users urged to check camera times

CCTV systems are primarily installed on commercial and public premises for two reasons.

Firstly, they signify to potential trespassers and offenders that the premises are protected and not an easy target. Often this deterrent alone will result in a criminal leaving a property untouched.

Secondly, the evidence that they gather in the form of video footage is an important investigational tool for the police if a crime is committed.

For this to be accurate, the time displayed on the images needs to be correct - and this can present a particular problem at this time of year for end users, as British Summer Time returns to Greenwich Mean Time and clocks shift by an hour.

Many newer IP CCTV systems will automatically make the changes in the same way that computers or smartphones do, but companies who still use older analogue video surveillance may need to be more proactive if they are to collect useable evidence - and stay on the right side of the law.

Paul Mackie, chief executive of not-for-profit compliance group Camerawatch, has warned end users that it is their responsibility to ensure that their cameras are set to the right time. 

He explains the legal requirement is associated with data protection as, by law, the images being captured on CCTV systems are people's personal data and must comply with the UK Data Protection Act. 

Writing on IFSEC Gobal, he states: "Principle four states that personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date. The capture, storage and presentation of CCTV images with incorrect time recording hardly falls into the accurate category, does it?" 

Mr Mackie adds that CCTV systems are a wonderful security tool, but they do bring responsibilities and end users should make time-checking a regular part of their security systems maintenance routine - not just twice a year when the clocks change.

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