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Blog: What Is The Current Legislation On Body Worn Cameras In the UK?          Published: 26/04/2023

What Is The Current Legislation On Body Worn Cameras In the UK?   

UK businesses that record video must comply with strict regulations regarding privacy and data management, as set out in the Data Protection Act 2018 – which incorporates the requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR.

In our experience as body worn camera suppliers, we’ve noticed some confusion among business owners as to what legislation applies to their particular situations. Let’s clear up some common doubts and questions.

What legislation applies to body worn cameras?

The fact is that there isn’t a specific piece of legislation or regulation concerning the use of body worn cameras. However, business owners and security staff should be familiar with UK guidelines regarding the capture and use of video footage.

You may want to read the Code of Practice by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, before using any recording equipment in your premises.

You may also want to check the relevant sections of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Part 2 describes the code of practice for CCTV and other surveillance systems.

What about the Data Protection Act/GDPR?

The use of body worn cameras in business settings isn’t specifically mentioned in Data Protection guidelines, or in the GDPR, which has caused some speculation and misunderstandings.

For example, a common assumption is that GDPR rules regarding CCTV also apply to body camera footage. This is not the case, although there is some overlap in the requirements for how to handle footage and interactions with the public when using a body worn camera.

Basically, what this means is that if your devices and procedures are GDPR/Data Protection compliant, you’ll also be compliant with all other privacy regulations.

What are the basics of body worn camera privacy compliance?

1) Footage collection

If you or your staff wear a body worn camera, you must inform people before you start filming. If recording inside a private household, people must give their consent for footage collection before you start. You can only collect footage for legitimate reasons. For example, it wouldn’t be appropriate to film a member of the public or a customer who approaches security staff to ask for directions, unless the camera is already recording, in which case the person must be informed.

If you’re recording an incident, ensure the camera collects evidence until the end, in order to prevent selective filming – which may be viewed as prejudicial or discriminatory.


2) Footage management and storage

Once footage is collected, make sure you have systems and policies regarding:

  • Safeguarding data on the actual camera hardware.
  • Safeguarding data when transferring it from the camera to the back office or cloud-based storage system.
  • Labelling and organising data.

Footage filmed on a body worn camera shouldn’t be stored for longer than necessary. The general recommendation is 30 days, unless the footage is needed for legal/law enforcement purposes.

You should take all reasonable measures to prevent footage from being lost, misplaced, or accessed by unauthorised parties. This could mean using devices that come with dedicated privacy features, such as encryption, automatic footage offload, or controlled data exports.

Find out more

DTS Solutions provides a range of body worn cameras that can benefit your organisation, as well as an expert team available to provide advice to suit your requirements. Contact us to find out how your business and security operations can be always compliant with body worn camera legislation in the UK.