Is It Legal to Record Audio on CCTV UK?

CCTV has cemented itself as one of the UK’s leading security options for businesses and private use. And while you can reasonably expect many public areas and premises to use CCTV, what are your rights when it comes to being filmed and are there any laws in place to prevent the issue of recordings on CCTV, including questions such as is it legal to record audio on CCTV UK?


What Are The Laws on CCTV UK?

There are strict rules surrounding CCTV usage and what the operator can and cannot do. for example;


  • If you are to use CCTV on your home correctly, you must have signs for visitors and neighbours to inform them they will be captured on CCTV when visiting your home. 
  • Recordings must be deleted regularly; there is no definite time period, but you should delete recordings after 30 days if no crime has occurred or you do not need documentation for ongoing issues. 
  • You should also be aware that people can request to view the footage under data privacy laws. You can oblige or destroy the footage depending on why the footage is being requested.
  • Operators must also not use their CCTV systems for anything other than the intended purpose.
  • You cannot record audio on your CCTV without a specific purpose or in limited circumstances.


I Am Being Filmed At Work Without Permission; What Can I Do?

While your employer cannot directly film you for no reason, they are allowed to use CCTV within their business as required where there is a need for this. All employees should be informed that CCTV is in use during their working hours and the systems must only be used for the reason it is installed, e.g., to catch shoplifters or to protect property outside of working hours. Your employer cannot use this equipment to film employees outside of their responsibilities, e.g. secretly recording private staff-only areas, bathrooms, or changing rooms. Employees must be aware of all cameras. If you feel you are being recorded secretly, you can request to see the footage and report this as a crime.


Are CCTV Cameras With Microphones Legal?

CCTV with microphones or the ability to record audio is illegal in the UK, with certain exceptions (police holding rooms or panic buttons in vulnerable situations such as taxis). You are not allowed to record conversations between the general public or private discussions, including in the workplace. 


Suppose you have CCTV at home, such as a smart doorbell that records audio. In that case, it is advised to ensure it isn’t able to pick up passersby, neighbours or others around your property boundary. Again you need to have signs indicating CCTV is in use, and you are then classed as a data controller as you’re holding data on other captured cameras.


Can My Landlord Have CCTV in Communal Areas Flat UK

It is perfectly legal for your landlord to install security CCTV in communal areas of their property to provide increased security for tenants and the protection of their assets. Your landlord, however, is not allowed to install CCTV inside your home. However, they cannot record audio, and the footage obtained can only be used to identify any issues or criminal damage.


CCTV has its place in many different aspects of modern life, and there is no denying it can be massively beneficial when used in the right circumstances. Anyone operating CCTV must adhere to regulations regarding the use and how they hold data captured on cameras.