Safeguarding: The use of CCTV systems in schools
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Safeguarding: The use of CCTV systems in schools

23rd April, 2017

In the last few years there has been a significant increase in the use of CCTV systems in schools and colleges. It can help to guard against vandalism and protect against intruders, but it can also lead to concerns about excessive surveillance. So, how can you ensure that a school CCTV installation is appropriate to your needs?

Installation of CCTV for schools

The first thing to note is that there are legal restrictions surrounding the use of CCTV for schools. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) must be notified and informed of the purpose of the installation and how any data collected will be used. This notification has to be renewed annually and the ICO must be notified of any subsequent changes to the system.

It’s also important to use a properly qualified installer who can design a system to meet your specifications. CCTV for schools should meet the Home Office recommendations for police evidence, so make that sure your chosen installer is able to do this.

Using the system

Any school CCTV installation needs to be accompanied by clear procedures regarding the way in which it will be operated. There must be an authorised individual, usually a senior member of the management team, who acts as data controller and is responsible for ensuring that these procedures are adhered to. The policy on CCTV use should be made available to all members of staff and there must be a procedure to deal with any complaints.

Initial viewing of images should be restricted to the data controller, however, it may be useful to have someone authorised to act as a deputy to cover for absences and emergencies. Procedures need to be in place to cover the circumstances in which CCTV data can be passed to third-parties such as the police. Where footage is stored, it needs to be properly labelled and indexed, with a mechanism in place to wipe or destroy it once it is no longer required.

In order that CCTV isn’t seen as intrusive, schools have to strike a balance between protecting their pupils and staff, and ensuring that the footage collected is handled sensitively.

 

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