Top Tips for Using CCTV in Your Small Business
Installing CCTV systems in your store is the perfect way to deter criminals and protect your store from theft, but only if you use it properly.
A recent study found that shoplifting costs UK retailers £4bn a year. For small businesses, this is simply too much. According to the UK government, one of the most experienced users of CCTV in the world, CCTV is extremely effective in ‘proving guilt, innocence and association,’ and it ‘plays a significant part in investigations by the police.’
Here are our top tips for making the most out of CCTV as a small business.
Set up your cameras effectively
In the government’s CCTV handbook, it is acknowledged that CCTV can be completely useless if it is not set up effectively. But getting CCTV right does not necessarily mean spending more money on it.
The most important thing to do when setting up new CCTV cameras on your premises is to decide what you want the cameras to achieve. Do you want your camera to be a window to the outside world, or to capture the faces of criminals? If you’re trying to get clear images of people, a zoomed-in focus will be necessary. If you want to record multiple people at once, you will have to keep your camera zoomed-out. Whatever you are doing, make sure your camera is at the right angle, and the right focus to do whatever you want it to do.
Though the existence of a thriving ‘dummy security camera’ market may suggest otherwise, the appearance of CCTV alone will not deter crime. As the government says, CCTV’s effectiveness relies on public knowledge of its success in bringing criminals to justice. A fake camera will not help this, and neither will a camera that is set up improperly.
Don’t spy on your employees
CCTV can help all kinds of small businesses. Its most obvious function is to face a shop floor to pick up potential theft, but it is also useful for monitoring the outside of a property where valuable things might be stored. However, if you set your cameras up to watch employees, you may find yourself in legal hot water.
The Human Rights Act and the Data Protection Act restrict the monitoring of employees via CCTV, and though it may be possible to watch your employees with CCTV, if any of them challenge you on it, you could end up in court.
Make security part of your daily routine
Installing and setting up CCTV cameras is useful but if you don’t check and maintain the cameras, they can only be so effective. Daily viewing of CCTV footage isn’t necessarily a must, but checking the cameras are working every morning and making sure you are not missing any smaller shoplifting incidents by occasionally watching back the day’s video will help make sure your CCTV is working effectively, and your store is secure.