Individual Privacy Vs. School Security

Since the introduction of CCTV for school security, the debate has raged on.  Some quarters believe it’s a natural progression into ensuring a higher level of safety and security – you only need look across the pond to understand the potential seriousness of an attack on our children.  Surely any measure which lessens the chance of an incident should be welcomed with open arms?

CCTV in School - Security vs. Privacy

CCTV in SchoolSecurity vs. Privacy

Those in opposite quarters think it’s a breach of privacy and in itself, could be seen as an attack on our human rights.

Clearly, the main purpose is to make our schools a safer place to be by offering a higher level of security for our children. It’s not just protecting against theft and vandalism either.  Bullying is still an unwelcome guest in many schools – statistics on bullying collated from government reports and research, released March 2013, shows that;

46% – The number of children and young people who said they have been bullied at school at some point in their lives.

38% – The number of disabled children worried about being bullied.

18% – The number of children and young people who were worried about bullying but said they would not talk to their parents about it.

Surely, if CCTV can help reduce these numbers and offer a greater level of security for our children, that’s a good thing, right?  Perhaps.  But there is a danger that it will simply displace the problem to other areas not under surveillance, rather than reducing and discouraging it.

Whatever the view, CCTV in school offers many benefits;

  • Protect High Risk Areas – monitor activity around areas like IT rooms, equipment rooms and cycle racks
  • Trespassing – Monitor areas susceptible to trespassing or truants leaving the school grounds
  • Communal Areas – Keep an eye on communal areas during busy times
  • Theft and Vandalism – To deter and be used as evidence in cases of theft and vandalism
  • Bullying – To act as a deterrent in bullying or to be used as evidence in reported cases

Before any school can install a CCTV system, there are a number of legal requirements to adhere to.  Schools have a statutory requirement to notify the Information Commissioner before installing any new system and they must include the reasons and purpose for which it is being employed.

They also need to be told who the Data Controller/s will be – this is the person/s responsible for the CCTV system. It’s also required that the school display compliant signage to make you aware under The Data Protection Act that you are being recorded.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is an independent authority overseeing protection of personal information in the UK and schools have an obligation to renew the information each year.  Schools also have to notify the Information Commissioner if any changes are made to the use and purpose of the CCTV.

Whatever your view on the use of CCTV in a school, where there is a clear benefit for using modern technology in the fight against crime, vandalism and bullying, due consideration should be given before making any decisions.

We can design and specify a system that is both legally compliant and unique to your own set of requirements and objectives.  We offer a free site survey to assess and discuss your requirements before providing a tailored set of recommendations.

To arrange for your free site survey for your school, or to discuss a current CCTV issue or security requirement, please call one of our client care team today on 0845 260 0095 and we can arrange for a free site visit.