More advice on CCTV

I hope the first week of the school term has gone smoothly and that everyone survived the wild wet weather we have had.  I’d like to start by praising the Cambridge High School staff, students and community for their quick and calm response to an incident on Tuesday. All such situations must be treated with the highest level of precaution until determined otherwise. A good outcome and good work all round.

Last week I touched on CCTV in businesses. Following a query I have received since, I wish to look at that a bit more today. When you install CCTV, it is important to consider your reasons for doing so to ensure it is most effective. Most businesses use it primarily for loss detection and as a deterrent against shop theft. CCTV camera placement needs to provide good coverage of the retail space and ideally at least one camera should be at lower level (that is shoulder height) to capture faces, even if people are wearing a baseball cap or similar. As mentioned last week, it is recommended that one be located covering the store road front and carparking area also.  Audio should only be used where a visual only view will not meet your needs.

Under the NZ Privacy Act, you must erect signs at locations before a person enters the CCTV covered area (for example the shop entry point) advising them that CCTV cameras are in operation.

Ensure staff members are trained in use of the CCTV system and where possible enable remote access from a mobile device. In the event of an afterhours burglary or alarm being activated, being able to view and provide police with live updates of the offenders’ actions is fantastic.

Ensure staff can review and save evidential footage and download it. This all speeds up any Police investigation and prevents loss of vital evidence.

Once you have footage of a thief, what do you do? The immediate urge may be to show and shame. Publishing photos publicly of alleged offenders raises a number of issues. First is the issue of identification, another is whether or not the person being named and shamed made a genuine error – and thirdly, whether that person has issues which could explain their behaviour.

If you are a business owner, consider joining the Cambridge Loss Prevention Facebook Page or signing up to use the Auror platform ( for a more controlled and secure way to share this information. For information around CCTV and privacy, visit .

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