The technological advances with surveillance equipment have proven to be a boom to the private investigations sector in recent times but the question of how to catch an employee using covert cameras is one that we get asked all of the time. Is it possible? Is it legal? Is it expensive? Is it ethical? How long can they be left in place for? We get a huge amount of questions along these lines almost every week; we will try our best to give you some answers.
The answer is quite simple, yes and no!
We need an element of common sense here. Is it reasonable to fit covert cameras into the toilet of a workplace? In almost all cases the answer to this would be a resounding no but there are circumstances where this might be possible. Would it be reasonable to place covert cameras covering the front door of an office from the inside? Yes, it may well be. Could you place covert cameras out into a rural environment, perhaps in a quarry? Possibly yes. Much depends on the situation behind the request for covert camera installations. Is it reasonable? Is it proportionate? Is it legal? Can your aim be achieved in any other way? The use of covert cameras in the workplace is legal providing the correct procedures and assessments are followed.
Again, a bit of an easy answer for us – some installations are straightforward whilst others are horrendously complicated but if we had to select one or the other we would say that most installations are not easy and require specialist knowledge to ensure that the installation is fit for purpose. Installing overt security cameras is less taxing as by definition, they do not have to be hidden. Covert cameras have to withstand extremely close scrutiny simply because employees that commit fraud within the workplace are often extremely suspicious indeed. We have seen employees over the years conducting searches prior to committing their fraudulent activity so the installation must be carried out professionally.
Over the years we have invested heavily and we now have options for most budgets. We have some phenomenal equipment, equipment that is currently utilised by the police and security services within the United Kingdom and beyond, equipment that can be left in situ for many months but we also have equipment that can be used by small businesses on a smaller budget and with lesser requirements.
Some covert cameras are incredibly small once piece units, the size of a box of matches but these units will have not only a limited recording time but also a short battery life. Conversely, other units can be relatively large, perhaps the size of both the palms of your hands and record on 4 channels, perhaps for many months.
The main part of this is to ensure that you utilise the skills of a professional company using the correct equipment for the task. Any Private Investigation company should carry out not only an in-depth reconnoitre but also ensure that all of the paperwork and assessments are complete. If this is not done then you could find yourself failing foul of the ICO.
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See related posts – How to conduct employee surveillance