CCTV must not be used to record conversations between members of the public as this is highly intrusive and unlikely to be justified. You should choose a system without this facility if possible. If your system comes equipped with a sound recording facility then you should turn this off or disable it in some other way.
There are limited circumstances in which audio recording may be justified, subject to sufficient safeguards. These could include:
* Audio based alert systems (such as those triggered by changes in noise patterns such as sudden shouting). Conversations must not be recorded, and operators should not listen in.
* Two-way audio feeds from ‘help points’ covered by CCTV cameras, where these are activated by the person requiring assistance.
* Conversations between staff and particular individuals where a reliable record is needed of what was said, such as in the charging area of a police custody suite6.
* Where recording is triggered due to a specific threat, e.g. a ‘panic button’ in a taxi cab.
In the limited circumstances where audio recording is justified, signs must make it very clear that audio recording is being or may be carried out.
The use of audio to broadcast messages to those under surveillance should be restricted to messages directly related to the purpose for which the system was established.
* If there is an audio monitoring or recording capability has this been disabled?
* If an audio based alert system is being used are measures in place to prevent conversations being monitored or recorded?
* If there are audio communications with help points, are these initiated by those requiring assistance?
* If a message broadcast facility is used, are the messages limited to those consistent with the original purpose for establishing the system?