Long Storey Short – CCTV For Blocks of Flats in Southend
We were asked to quote recently to put CCTV in a block of flats in Leigh-on Sea-near Southend.
The residents had a list of complaints that we hear a lot when we talk to the owners of flats in apartment blocks across Essex.
They were fed up with:
- unauthorised car parking by neighbouring blocks without sufficient parking space
- a local car lot parking old bangers that they didn’t want on their forecourt
- cars with expired tax that couldn’t be on one of the neighbouring public roads
- teenagers accessing the car park through a right of way and loitering during the hours of darkness
- vandals who had thrown bricks from the next door building site through the window of one of the flats in the block
- residents of other local properties filling up the commercial bin that was paid for as part of their management fees
- potential thieves who could walk all the way around the ground floor of the building. Men had been seen looking in the windows to see who and what was inside, possibly planning a burglary.
Problems solved with CCTV cameras?
The residents wanted CCTV cameras installed so they could see in real time who was on their property. And be able to call the Police if necessary.
They wanted the cameras and accompanying warning messages to act as a deterrent to anyone tempted to break in or do something they shouldn’t.
They also wanted to have access to HD footage so that any individual who committed a crime could be easily identified.
And they all wanted to be able to access the images through a shared app.
It sounded so simple.
But they had not considered the implications of the GDPR. The Data Protection Act 2018 is the UK’s implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Everyone responsible for using personal data has to follow strict rules called ‘data protection principles’. They must make sure the information is: used fairly, lawfully and transparently.
What are the rules for CCTV in a block of flats?
For most home CCTV, you don’t need to register your cameras with the ICO.
But this is not a regular domestic deployment of CCTV.
Blocks of flats with outside management companies
For any block of flats, there will usually be a management company. This may be a third party or a committee of the residents themselves. This entity is the Data Controller.
If the CCTV has been installed for crime prevention and to ensure health and safety, then the Data Controller owns the footage. And there is no reason for the residents to have access. If they want to see the footage, they can do so through a formal request.
So, for the residents of a block of flats with a third party managing agent, it’s not as simple as hearing a noise outside and checking the CCTV camera footage.
You have to contact the managing agent and put in a written request. How many managing agents are manning their emails or the camera footage of their many blocks after hours…?
For residents with their own formal managing committee
There are two options:
1. If no third party managing agent is involved, a CCTV policy and data processing agreement can be put in place to allow certain individuals to view the footage.
2. A data processing agreement can be put in place between the managing agent (data controller) and the committee (data processors) to allow these members access to the CCTV footage. Then a CCTV policy and rules governing exactly who can view the data need to be in place.
The fear here is that a resident will share images of loiterers on the internet. It would be very tempting when some toerag has nicked your bike from the car park and you have the evidence! But the GDPR says that anything which can identify an individual is personal data. And that must be treated according to the rules.
Breaking GDPR rules carries the risk of big fines!
The answer! CCTV monitored by a Video Receiving Centre
The residents of this particular block were governed by a third party managing agent rather than their own management committee.
Suddenly, the whole exercise felt impossible and a waste of money.
One resident wouldn’t let that stop him getting protection for his block of flats. He contacted Eastern and explained the situation. We were happy to tell him that monitored CCTV would take his pain away!
The management of the block could employ a third party monitoring service with Police response. The Video Receiving Centre would be alerted if the cameras were triggered. A professional would then decide whether there was a threat and call the Police to attend if required.
They operate 24/7, 365 days per year, so the entire block of flats and private car park would be constantly covered. And with cameras installed and set up by accredited professionals, they wouldn’t be filming any areas they shouldn’t be.
That solution would protect the residents, the block and deal with all the GDPR issues, so nobody would have to worry about falling foul of the law.
Why choose Eastern for CCTV in your Southend block of flats?
Not all monitoring packages include Police response. You need a Unique Reference Number from the Police. To get one, your CCTV cameras must be installed AND maintained by an accredited security systems company. This means the company must be registered with the SSAIB or NSI.
Eastern Security are accredited by the SSAIB. You can be certain your CCTV system will be eligible for Police Response – providing we are also providing ongoing maintenance.
Our years of experience and high service standard have earned us many satisfied – and safe – customers all over Essex.
Be the next happy customer! Get a quote today. Fill in your details and one of our friendly professionals will get back to you ASAP.
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