Do I have a legal right to obtain CCTV footage of myself?

What is meant by CCTV?

CCTV is the abbreviated term for Closed Circuit Television and refers to cameras used to film certain premises or public places in order to monitor what is happening in these places.

The use of CCTV in the United Kingdom

In the society in which we live there is constant use of CCTV footage. Mainly this is used for security concerns by business, shops, public places and is often administered by local councils in order to provide information to bodies such as the police.

Due to the continuing use of CCTV in the United Kingdom each person in our society will be filmed on CCTV throughout each and every day.

Are companies or security bodies able to put CCTV in place legally?

The use of CCTV by security bodies and public bodies such as local councils in the United Kingdom is perfectly legal due to the continued requirement to protect security within our society.

However, there is a feeling that this often goes too far and that people are unable to go about their daily lives without being filmed on CCTV.

Do I have a legal right to obtain footage of myself taken from CCTV?

Every person in England and Wales has the right to access images of themselves which may have been recorded by a CCTV camera system.

Under what legislation am I provided with this right?

The Data Protection Act 1998 ensures that all public bodies such as local councils are required to make any personal data available to them if requested.

What is meant by personal data?

Personal data is defined by the Data Protection Act as information that relates to an individual and is held by the public body.

Does footage taken by CCTV cameras fall within the definition of personal data?

Footage taken by CCTV cameras is taken to fall within the category of personal data as it relates to an individual as it is footage of that individual. Furthermore when this CCTV footage is held by a public body such as a local council in order to assist the police then this will be regarded as personal data.

Accordingly an individual will have a legal right under the Data Protection Act to be provided with access to this data.

How do I make a request to be provided with CCTV footage of myself from a public body?

If an individual wishes to be provided with access to CCTV footage of themselves from a public body they should make a written request to the owner of the CCT system.

Where can I obtain the details of the owner of the system?

The details of the owner of the CCTV system will usually be written on a sign which is attached to the camera.

What information will I need to provide to them in order to obtain the CCTV footage?

Certain and full information will need to be provided to the owner of the CCTV system in order for them to identify an individual. For example the following information must usually be provided:

  • A date
  • A time
  • A full description of the person’s appearance
  • A full description of the clothes that the person was wearing

Will I have to pay a fee to be provided with a copy of the CCTV footage?

In order for an individual to be provided with a copy of the CCTV footage it is usual that the individual will be required to pay a fee.

How much is the fee likely to be?

It is likely that a fee of around £10 is usual in order to obtain a copy of the footage.

When a public body receives a request for footage, how long do they have to legally respond?

When a public body is contacted in relation to footage which they hold over a certain individual they must supply a copy of the images within 40 days. This is a requirement under the Data Protection Act.

Is it likely that they will send me an edited version?

It is likely that the public body will send an edited version of the CCTV footage in order to protect the identities of other people or vehicle registrations shown in the footage.