CCTV (closed-circuit television) is a TV system in which signals are not publicly distributed but are monitored, primarily for surveillance and security purposes.
CCTV relies on strategic placement of cameras, and observation of the camera’s input on monitors somewhere. Because the cameras communicate with monitors and/or video recorders across private coaxial cable runs or wireless communication links, they gain the designation “closed-circuit” to indicate that access to their content is limited by design only to those able to see it.
Older CCTV systems used small, low-resolution black and white monitors with no interactive capabilities. Modern CCTV displays can be color, high-resolution displays and can include the ability to zoom in on an image or track something (or someone) among their features. Talk CCTV allows an overseer to speak to people within range of the camera’s associated speakers.
CCTV is commonly used for a variety of purposes, including:
- Maintaining perimeter security in medium- to high-secure areas and installations.
- Observing behavior of incarcerated inmates and potentially dangerous patients in medical facilities.
- Traffic monitoring.
- Overseeing locations that would be hazardous to a human, for example, highly radioactive or toxic industrial environments.
- Building and grounds security.
- Obtaining a visual record of activities in situations where it is necessary to maintain proper security or access controls (for example, in a diamond cutting or sorting operation; in banks, casinos, or airports).
CCTV is designed to assist in prevention and detection of crime and aims to:
- provide evidence to relevant enforcement agencies
- maintain public order
- prevent anti-social behavior and nuisance
- provide reassurance
- promote economic well being
The Government recognizes the valuable part that CCTV can play in tackling problems associated with community safety and concerns about crime.
CCTV within town centers gives members of the public the reassurance that they can go about their daily business with confidence, it gives members of the business community added security and sends a clear message to those engaged in crime or anti-social behavior that they will be caught and will be prosecuted.
CCTV is finding increasing use in law-enforcement, for everything from traffic observation (and automated ticketing) to observation of high-crime areas or neighborhoods. Such use of CCTV technology has fueled privacy concerns in many parts of the world, particularly in those areas in the UK and Europe where it has become a routine part of police procedure.
You have the right to access images of yourself that may have been recorded by a CCTV camera system. This is because the Data Protection Act of 1998 means that public bodies like local councils need to make any personal data available to you if you request it. Personal data is information that relates to an individual and is held by the public body.