Subject 1: Surveillance and CCTV

Please Note – contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence.

CCTV can help to reduce the risk of work-related violence and crime by:

  • helping staff and customers feel safer;
  • acting as a deterrent to offenders;
  • helping you to direct staff or security to where they’re needed;
  • enabling you to collect evidence to help find and convict offenders.

What do you want CCTV to do?

This is a key question. Which of the points listed above do you want CCTV to help with? The objectives of your CCTV system will have an impact on what kind of system you need in terms of technical equipment, staffing and training.

Remember, CCTV may not have as great an impact on crimes that can be committed quickly, and it can mean that staff and customers stop being so vigilant to crime and violence as they rely on the CCTV system.

Do you need CCTV?

As with all control measures, you have to look at your risks and decide whether CCTV may help to control those risks. Your local crime prevention officer can help you decide whether CCTV is what you need and which system will suit you best.

Key points to remember when using CCTV:

  • Use CCTV in combination with other crime and violence prevention measures.
  • Make sure staff know how to operate and use the system.
  • Display signage advertising the use of CCTV.
  • Site cameras in places where you have the highest risk of violence and crime.
  • Maintain your CCTV system.
  • Keep recordings in a secure place for a minimum of 31 days.
  • Use a system that suits your reasons for using CCTV.

CCTV system requirements

Monitoring the system

  • How frequently do you need your CCTV to be monitored? If your CCTV system is continuously monitored, how are you going to staff this? If you aren’t going to continuously monitor the system, consider making arrangements for staff to periodically and randomly monitor the system.
  • Who is going to monitor the system?

o    Staff who monitor the CCTV system need to be alert and committed, and you need to know that they will not misuse the system.

o    Periodic spot checks can be made to ensure the system is being operated properly.

o    There is no solid evidence about the typical attention span of a person monitoring a CCTV system, or how many screens an individual can manage. You need to consider your risks. If your risk is high and it is vital that an operator does not miss anything then you need to ensure they get regular breaks and do not monitor too many cameras. If your risk is low, monitoring arrangements can be more flexible.

o    Your operators and other staff should be trained in what you expect them to do. This may include identifying suspicious behaviour, keeping and maintaining records, identifying known troublemakers or alerting colleagues. You need to decide what response you require from your staff if they observe suspicious or violent behaviour, and ensure all staff involved know what to do.

Your control room

  • Control room management, operation and procedures are important, particularly in larger companies/premises where several cameras may be in operation.
  • Depending on the size of your CCTV operation, control room facilities can include, for example, microwave transmission, tape store and equipment rooms, systems allowing camera control and image selection and a code of practice manual.
  • If your control room is situated away from the shop floor/bar area, think about how control room staff communicate with shop floor/security staff. Radio systems can be helpful.


  • Signs should be used to ensure both staff and customers are aware of the presence of CCTV. Signs should be in the immediate vicinity of the CCTV, be clearly visible and legible to the public, A4 or A3 in size, stating ‘CCTV is in operation’ and identify a responsible person and contact number.
  • You might want to consider the use of non-threatening signs, e.g. ‘Smile, you’re on 24 hour CCTV’.
  • You may like to find out how your CCTV system can comply with the Data Protection Act (1998). Your local crime prevention officer could provide you with more information.


  • The quality of CCTV may be worse at lower light levels. Some cameras are also unable to cope with or adapt to artificial lighting/neon lighting/low lighting/street lighting or lighting that is too close in the hours of darkness. This can lead to strobing or glare and affects the ability to monitor images and the quality of recorded images.
  • You should assess lighting when deciding what system to use. You should consider:

o    what it is you are trying to identify (e.g. number plates, person, movement etc);

o    what type of light is there currently and what effect is it likely to have on picture quality;

o    whether extra lighting is required.

Location of cameras

  • Talk to others about where you should site your cameras, e.g. police or previous operators. Place cameras at areas with a high risk of violence. Some suggestions for camera location include:

o    all entry and exit points from inside and outside, cash offices or storerooms, outdoor areas such as gardens or car parks, counter areas, separate rooms where visibility from counters or bars is hindered, and toilet areas;

o    cameras in nightclubs and pubs could cover dance floors, fire exits and areas where security searches are carried out. This monitoring should be possible in all light conditions;

o    satellite cameras can be positioned at regular intervals along shop aisles and should be able to rotate 360 degrees to cover a large radius of floor space.

  • The number of cameras is not as important as their positioning. Also, having lots of cameras can mean your customers may start to feel worried about becoming a victim of crime, rather than feeling safer.

Camera type and mounting

  • There are many different types and makes of camera, and what you choose will depend on the objectives of your CCTV system. Cameras can be static or pan, tilt and zoom (known as PTZ).

o    Static cameras can be useful for producing good quality evidence as they point in one direction and have a fixed focal length, but they can be less useful for live monitoring.

o    PTZ cameras can mean operators can control their field of vision and the cameras can be more interesting to operate. They are also seen to move so are better for live monitoring and reassuring the public. However, to ensure adequate coverage requires many overlapping PTZ cameras, which can be costly.

o    You need to investigate with a supplier how good the resolution and sensitivity is on the cameras they are offering. Colour cameras can sometimes have lower resolution and sensitivity than monochrome ones but they have other advantages such as it being easier and more natural to view the images. Camera technology is improving so the ability of colour cameras to deal with low light levels or mixed/artificial light sources is getting better. You need to decide if 24-hour colour accuracy is needed.

  • You also need to think about how you are going to mount the cameras.


  • Monitors must be of good quality. Image quality is particularly important, for example monitors must be set up correctly for colour balance and a satisfactory level of contrast and brightness. There should also be no split screen or rolling CCTV monitors on view to the public as this can identify monitored areas.

Power supply

  • Cameras can be plugged into a mains supply or a battery can be mounted with or placed near to the camera. If you use batteries just remember to check them regularly!


  • The type of receiver and recording technology you choose will depend on your CCTV system’s objectives.
  • Digital systems enable faster searching and maintain image quality better than some VCR systems. However, they also have a finite storage capacity. Whatever system you choose, you need to make sure your operators are fully trained and confident in using this technology.
  • It is useful if playback software for the playback and export of CCTV images has variable speed control, frame by frame function, forward and reverse functions, can display single and multiple cameras, and permit effective searching, e.g. by time and date, and allow printing or saving of pictures. Playback should be possible without closing down the CCTV system.
  • Ensure you can copy 15 minutes either side of an incident for evidence purposes.
  • Recordings can be made in time-lapse mode to enable a single videotape to be used for up to 24 hours. The operator can then switch to real time recording to record a continuous, live event.


  • The quality of image you require will be dictated by your CCTV system’s objectives. For example, you may want to ensure you have clear images that enable the identification of facial details, vehicles, true colour, provide a clear view of a suspect’s body language and actions, and the ability to follow the progress of a target.
  • Think about what you want the system to do and what implications that has for the size of the image in the screen, e.g. do you want it to:

o    monitor (can observe number, direction and speed of people – not less than 5% of screen);

o    detect (can tell whether or not a person is visible – not less than 10% of screen);

o    recognise (can say with high degree of certainty whether a person is the same as one seen before – not less than 50% of screen);

o    identify (picture quality and detail should be sufficient to enable the identity of a subject to be established beyond reasonable doubt – not less than 120% of the screen, i.e. the screen should show the person’s head and face close up and not show their whole body)?

  • View the recorded pictures, not live pictures, to assess system performance.
  • Don’t assume that enhancement features such as zoom will provide extra detail.
  • Picture quality should not be reduced to fit available storage capacity.

Tape management

  • Recorded videotapes/still pictures need to be kept in a secure place and access to them should be carefully regulated and controlled. It is important that tapes are securely stored because images used as evidence which result in a conviction are required by law to be kept for the duration of the sentence, which could be more than 20 years.
  • Recordings/still pictures should have the time and date superimposed on the image. If you are using a digital system, ensure there is a time date stamp. Don’t forget to check the date and time are correct.
  • If using magnetic tapes for recording images, you should make arrangements for cleaning tapes before they are used again. Tapes should be ‘de-gaussed’ (magnetically cleaned) of all previous images. Make sure you monitor how many times each tape has been used, and specify a maximum number of recordings (it is unwise to set this figure above 12 as the image degrades each time a tape is used).
  •          There should be sufficient storage capacity for 31 days’ good quality picture. If the    system is VCR, ensure you have 31 tapes.
  •           Visually check tapes by playing them on different machines.
  •           Video and audio information must not be disclosed to third parties. Neither tapes nor still pictures should be released to the press other than by a police officer. Still pictures should be destroyed unless there are good reasons for retention. Provide guidelines as to who can take hard copies of CCTV images.

Document your arrangements for tape usage and storage.

Note that the text above is taken from the Health and Safety Executive website. For more information visit

CCTV in pubs – Data Protection FAQs

Please Note – contains public sector information published by the Information Commissioners Office (22/9/209) licensed under the Open Government Licence.

What is the law which allows licensing authorities to make CCTV a condition of granting an alcohol licence?

The Licensing Act 2003 governs the application and granting of licences for premises to sell alcohol. Licensing authorities, in most cases the local authority have to determine the granting of a licence in line with the “licensing objectives”, which are:

a) the prevention of crime and disorder;

b) public safety;

c) the prevention of public nuisance; and

d) the protection of children from harm.

Does this mean that licensing authorities can set any conditions they choose on a licence?

No, conditions which are placed on a licence must be consistent with the details contained in the application for a licence, such as the plan of the bar or the times that alcohol might be provided, and must help to meet the licensing objectives. Licensing authorities are also bound, as public bodies, to ensure that they act in accordance with the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 and that any processing of CCTV is necessary and proportionate to meet a legitimate aim. In addition, any retention, use or disclosure of personal information caught on CCTV must be carried out in line with the data protection principles.

Can the police insist that CCTV is installed as a condition of a licence?

No, but they are entitled to ask the licensing authority to make CCTV installation a condition of license. However, the licensing authority makes the ultimate decision on which conditions are imposed on determination of the licence.

When determining a licence application, the licensing authority must take into account any “relevant representations” made by “interested parties” (such as local residents or businesses) and “responsible authorities”, such as the Chief Officer of the local police services. While these representations must be taken into account, the licensing authority is not bound by them and is not obliged to place any conditions on the licence that are recommended by local police services. Beyond mandatory conditions in the Licensing Act 2003, the licensing authority may only set further conditions where it considers these are necessary to meet the licensing objectives. CCTV is not one of the mandatory conditions and should only be imposed where this helps to meet one of the licensing objectives. It is important to note that it is the licensing authority, not the police service, which makes the final decision on licence conditions.

Are licensing authorities aware of this?

Yes. Both the Department of Culture Media and Sport and LACORS (The Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services) have produced guidance for licensing authorities which makes it clear that CCTV should not be introduced as a matter of course, only where there is a justifiable reason for doing so.

What if a licensee wants to challenge a decision to make the installation of CCTV a condition of an alcohol licence?

Any appeal against a decision by the licensing authority should be taken through the normal licensing appeals process.

Does this mean the ICO is opposed to any use of CCTV in licensed premises?

No. The ICO can see that there is real value in installing CCTV on those licensed premises which have a history of being connected with crime or anti-social behaviour and where this is likely to continue in the future.

How does the Data Protection Act 1998 apply to CCTV images?

The Data Protection Act 1998 (the Act) regulates the holding and processing of personal information that relates to living individuals and which is contained in or related to images captured using CCTV.

What responsibilities does the licensee have for images caught on CCTV?

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, the licensee is the data controller for any CCTV images caught on cameras in their premises which can be used to identify an individual. Licensees must ensure that all CCTV images that can be used to identify an individual are captured on camera, used, stored and disclosed in line with the data protection principles.

It is important that signs are displayed explaining that CCTV is in operation. Other than in exceptional circumstances any sound recording function on the CCTV system should be disabled. Further guidance on these and other matters is available in their CCTV Code of Practice (www.

Licensees are also required to notify as a data controller to the ICO and pay an annual fee of £35.00.

When can a licensee disclose CCTV images to the police or other third party?

The Data Protection Act 1998 allows for CCTV images which can be used to identify an individual to be handed over for the prevention or detection of crime, the prosecution or apprehension of offenders or where the disclosure is required by law, for example, where an officer of the licensing authority is checking that CCTV is being used in accordance with the conditions of a particular license.

While many licensing conditions stipulate that licensees should provide CCTV images to the police “on request”, the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 are such that such disclosure should be necessary for investigating or preventing a crime or apprehending or prosecuting an offender. As such the police must be able to justify their requests for CCTV images to be disclosed to them.

Subject 2: Counterfeit Bank Notes

Counterfeit note detection should be a standard part of pubs crime prevention practices.  A good starting point is to make sure your staff know how to check banknotes, and then they know what to do if they discover a counterfeit note.

Manual checks can quickly and easily be made using the security features on banknotes whenever notes are being passed in a transaction.  Don’t rely on checking just one security feature, but check a few such as;

– The feel of the paper and the raised print

– The watermark

– The holograms

– The metallic thread

– The motion thread on the £50 note

Information on how to check banknotes is shown on the Bank of England website. They also provide a range of free staff training materials including booklets, posters, films, and deterrent stickers which can be ordered by telephoning 020 7601 4878 or online at

They also have a free Banknote App available for Apple and Android devices.  See for more information.

There are other tools available to help check your banknotes such as counterfeit detector pens and ultra-violet (UV) lamps, more details on these can be found in the ‘Take a Closer Look’ booklet, which is available on their website

Further help is also available by using counterfeit note checking machines. The Bank of England has a list of machines that have passed the Bank of England counterfeit checking test on their website

Once a counterfeit note is suspected or discovered it is your responsibility to notify the police. This is because it is a criminal offence to knowingly hold or pass on a note that you know or suspect to be counterfeit (the Forgery & Counterfeit Act 1981 is the relevant legislation).

Subject 3: In-house Theft

Stealing is an uncomfortable subject to address, yet it affects almost everyone involved in the hospitality business. At Venners, we are in the business of reporting the truth; be it good, bad or ugly, and unfortunately that all too often includes theft. Here are 10 top things to be mindful of when you can’t account for all your stock or cash and you suspect an “inside job.”

1. Pennies next to the till

It may not be pennies, it could be a hand written tally, bottle tops or even bits of paper but the concept is the same. This could be evidence of someone trying to keep count of the number of drinks or pounds they have accumulated and not rung through the till, so they can extract the same value in cash from the till at an opportune time.

2. (Big) Refunds

Ensure you know why each and every refund has taken place, as every single one is a reduction in revenue. Genuine mistakes happen, but it is imperative you know the reasons.

3 Till Drawer is left Open

This could indicate that not everything is being “rung through the till” and/or there is now excess cash inside (to what will ultimately be reported) and someone is waiting for an opportune moment to take out.

4 Excess Stock from Front of House

The more stock on display and at hand to your team, the more chance there is for it to disappear without being noticed. Lock it away in a storage area with restricted entry to prevent theft and if it goes missing from there it can be narrowed down to only those with access.

5 Till Voids

Get a void report off your tills or back of house computer, if you don’t know how, ask your Stocktaker. You should be looking at it regularly and investigating findings. High voids can highlight possible theft or the need for re-training.

6 “No Sales” (large numbers of)

If a member of staff is doing a lot of “No Sales” or a “£0.00 cash pay,” these need investigating. If they profess it is to do change, then put a process in place to accurately reflect this activity and stop/reduce non-descript activity occurring under “No Sales” etc.

7 Numerous, very small transactions

What is the average price for a drink in your site? If someone’s average sale is less than this, you need to ask yourself why? What are they selling?… Are they creating opportunities to unnecessarily access the till? If you can’t get that sort of information from the till system, keep an eye on the display, anything less than £2.00 should raise suspicions. Ask someone you trust to watch whilst you’re not there as it is probably not happening under your nose… but it could be.

8 Bags

It is always advisable to have a separate area where the team can store their belongings, especially in circumstances where you suspect a thief. This makes theft harder and increases the chances of your catching them with your cash or stock on them. If their bag is behind the bar they can easily slip something in it when unattended. Make sure your garbage bags etc. are being used for the right reasons too and not to smuggle stock or cash out for collection later or for someone else.

9 Till Variances

Obviously your suspicions are raised if your till is down, but they should also be raised if your till is up. You need to investigate who has been working and why it is wrong. It is good practice to swap your tills unexpectedly from time to time and see if you can find any variances. No variance is a good variance.

10 Sales Reports vs Gaps on Shelves/Fridges

It you have a back of house computer where your tills report to, it is a good idea to print off a daily sales report and bottle up your shelves and fridges against it. Any gaps left at the end of this exercise will highlight where something has been “sold/taken” and not rung through the till.