Warning over use of CCTV in pubs

The information commissioner has said pubs with no history of trouble should not be forced to install CCTV cameras.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is concerned that the Policing and Crime Bill could introduce this as part of mandatory conditions for licensing.

“The use of CCTV must be reasonable and proportionate… to maintain public trust and confidence,” it said..

The Home Office said the mandatory code would target bad practices “that can result in crime and disorder”.

A spokesman said that while the bill’s mandatory code could allow CCTV to be made a requirement, there was no plan to do so.

The department added that consultation on CCTV in pubs was still to take place, and the ICO said it hoped to be part of those discussions.

“Hardwiring surveillance into the UK’s pubs raises serious privacy concerns,” said an Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) spokesman.

“Installing surveillance in a particular pub to combat specific problems of rowdiness and bad behaviour may be lawful, but hardwiring in blanket measures across entire areas and including pubs where there has been no history of criminal activity is likely to breach data protection requirements.”

The Home Office said it was in discussion with the alcohol retail industry on draft mandatory conditions.

“These new proposals are not intended to penalise those businesses that do act responsibly – particularly in the current economic climate,” a spokesman said.

“They’re focused on irresponsible promotions and bad management practices that can result in crime and disorder.”

He added that the government supported the proposal for a national body to oversee CCTV use.