Pre-schools, Nurseries, Schools, Colleges and Universities all have a responsibility to keep their students and teachers safe whilst at school. Schools can greatly increase the level of safety and security for all people on the premises by installing a comprehensive CCTV system. It also provides peace of mind to parents that their child is in an institution that takes their security seriously. Today we are looking at the Pro’s and Con’s of having CCTV in your premises.
The Pros of using CCTV Systems in Schools
There are many benefits to using CCTV in schools,
including the safety of pupils, teachers, controlling
bullying and disruptive behaviour as well as identifying
areas of improvement.
Sadly, Bullying is still commonplace and occurs in the majority of schools. Despite their best efforts, Teachers and staff can’t be everywhere all the time.
A well-designed comprehensive CCTV system will have cameras located all around the school, such as in hallways, circulation spaces and corridors, as well as areas out of sight areas (such as the good old bike sheds).
Not only does this deter bullies, but it also allows identification of those carrying out the bullying something which can be invaluable when the victim is nervous about or unwilling to name their bully.
Reduces Anti-Social Behaviour
Anti-social behaviour can be anything from smoking to theft and drug use. A nationwide study recently found that there are 160 criminal allegations per school day in the United Kingdom with theft, or robbery being the most common offences.
Deters Theft During School Closures
Schools are closed for long periods of time over holidays and Criminals are well aware of this, not to mention the amount of high-value technology such as computers and laptops inside.
Schools that have a commercial CCTV system in place have an effective deterrent to intruders, it shows that the school has a high-tech security system and subsequently criminals are likely
to move on should they think they will be caught on camera.
A professional CCTV system can also deter acts of vandalism, whether that be from individuals trespassing in the grounds or
pupils inside the school.
Well located and highly visible CCTV cameras make it obvious to any potential vandal that they are on camera and can be identified.
Identifies Unauthorised Visitors
Although incredibly rare, there is always the worry about the possibility of Intruders entering a school during operating hours.
A CCTV system that monitors all thoroughfares and entrances helps give parents and staff peace of mind that their children are safe. Should an unauthorised person venture onto the site they can be identified immediately and staff can take the appropriate steps quickly and effectively.
Improves Teacher and Staff Safety
The safety of School staff is of paramount importance, yet sometimes overlooked.
All teachers and staff have the right to feel safe whilst at work. CCTV systems give peace of mind through the knowledge that the site is being monitored continuously throughout the day.
If a school wanted to go the extra step (or should they have had incidents that have made it a requirement) CCTV in classrooms can provide an added sense of security to teachers should an incident occur with a student.
If the system is actively monitored, it can also alert other members of staff that a teacher needs help due to anti-social behaviour or violence. In these scenarios, it is a valuable tool as video evidence when liaising between students, teachers and parents.
Unfortunately, these scenarios are not uncommon with 80,000 cases of classroom violence recorded in the 2008-2009 academic year alone. (Source: Education Business UK)
Highlights Areas of Improvement
A less appreciated application of a CCTV system is its ability to
identify areas within the school that could be improved in terms
of the way, it operates, especially in terms of pupil safety.
This could be spotting areas of congestion in particularly busy
corridors at certain times. There could also be safety hazards
identified such as children struggling with heavy doors that may cause a risk to pupils.
All these examples are things that are unlikely to be reported by students but can be identified through the CCTV system,
continuously improving the school’s level of safety and
subsequently reducing and eliminating risk as much
Cons of Using CCTV Systems in Schools
Installing CCTV in schools has huge benefits, but like everything, there are some disadvantages to consider.
Possible Privacy Issues
CCTV is for all intents and purposes a surveillance system and staff and pupils may not feel comfortable in the knowledge that they are always being watched.
To combat any concerns about privacy it is important to have full and open communication with anyone who may attend or visit the school.
You will need to justify the use of CCTV by explaining why the school has opted to have it and what the footage will be used for.
It can be quite expensive
Due to the size of some schools, the scale of a CCTV system required to provide full coverage can be sizeable. The system
will also need to have enough cameras to be effective in all areas, and due to the number of Cameras capturing images you will also need a substantial Hard drive capacity. These are all factors that can increase the cost of the system substantially.
From the School’s budget point of view, the costs can seem quite an expense but it is important to understand that you are investing in the school’s safety and subsequently that of pupils and staff.
It will record it, but it can’t Stop Crime
CCTV can’t stop criminal activity such as vandalism or break ins taking place, but it is an effective deterrent in catching them in the act. CCTV will not sound an alarm to shock and stop the intruder in their tracks, but when combined with other security systems like a monitored intruder alarm, the two together can result in very effective protection for your school.
What is the Law on CCTV use in Schools?
CCTV systems are permitted to be set up in and around schools to ensure the safety of the staff, pupils and visitors. As these systems capture images of individuals, they fall under the guidelines and laws surrounding data protection and privacy laws.
You must adhere to the ICO’s Code of Practice
Schools must follow the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)’s code of practice for the use of CCTV. You can access a copy of this here.
You must notify everyone that uses the school of the CCTV in place through Signs that must be put up around the premises.
You must register your system with the ICO and may also have to pay a data protection fee as you will be processing personal data.
You must be GDPR Compliant
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a Europe-wide law that supersedes the Data Protection Act 1998 in the UK. It covers how you gather, store and process personal data.
When it comes to your CCTV system, it is imperative to be GDPR compliant and fully comply to the rules as you are capturing and collecting personal data of School staff and children.
This includes an obligation to ensure that personal data (Footage) is stored in a manner that effectively protects it’s against unauthorised viewing, sharing and protects against accidental loss, destruction or damage.
Be careful who you choose to install CCTV in your School
Opting to use a professional company like BAC to install your school’s CCTV system is important due to the multiple aspects to consider.
The Department of Education states that a monitored alarm system is essential for school premises, even more so for those that are in remote areas away from residential areas.
Depending on the camera types used, BAC CCTV systems can include remotely controlled PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) Cameras and PA (Public Address) speaker system. The combination of these devices allow remote monitoring staff to
issue a verbal warning to leave the site whilst following any intruders on-site and capturing the best possible images of faces through the use of the Zoom facility.
Should intruders ignore verbal warnings, Police will be dispatched and provided with , zooming in to capture the best possible images for submission to police
Bigger CCTV Systems can contain miles of High quality CAT5 Copper cabling, Using High quality Pure copper CAT 5 cabling provides the best images possible and can prolong the life of the system..
BAC offer a large range of professional-grade CCTV systems, including options for full remote monitoring with Guard and Police response.
These systems are constantly monitored for faults which are reported back to your security company. They Will then contact the customer to arrange an engineer to attend. At times when the school is closed the System is monitored for any security breach which depending on client instruction will invoke an immediate response from either Staff, Guard or Police