CCTV & Security Alarms

Installing a CCTV system is one of many steps you can take to protect your home or business from criminals. If you install a CCTV system, you must inform the Information Commissioner’s Office.

For advice on CCTV and alarms, use our A-Z of crime prevention here.


  • Choose companies who supply, install and maintain security alarms or CCTV camera systems and are approved members of NSI (National Security Inspectorate) www.nsi.org.uk or SSAIB (Security Systems & Alarm Inspection Board) www.ssaib.org.
  • Tell the installer exactly what you want from the system and make sure it is set up to your requirements.
  • The camera should get a good head and shoulders shot of anyone entering your premises/land.
  • Make sure that cameras are visible and put up warning signs to put off thieves. Signage is compulsory for commercial properties.
  • Make sure the hard drive or recording equipment is kept secure in a locked cabinet as thieves will want to destroy or steal the evidence on it.

There are specific UK police requirements for CCTV systems. Meeting these requirements will improve the quality of footage, making it more useful as evidence.

Victims of less-serious crime such as criminal damage or burglary and who own their CCTV systems are required to supply relevant CCTV images to officers by post or email.  This leads to quicker investigation as police officers are not required to spend lengthy periods interrogating computer systems that are not owned by the Constabulary.

Should victims report crime for which CCTV footage exists that is owned by someone else, police will manage the securing of his evidence.

Officers will also manage securing this evidence for serious crime and safeguarding offences.

The four main areas to be considered when setting up your CCTV systems are:

  • Quality - better picture quality makes better evidence. Make sure the cameras are set up so that they can capture a head and shoulders shot of whoever enters or exits buildings.
  • Storage - make sure your footage is stored securely and that it can be accessed when needed.
  • Export - exporting footage easily from the system will help if it needs to be reviewed by police or sent to officers.
  • Playback - check if the footage can be easily viewed by authorised third parties.

Security Alarms

Alarm systems should be professionally installed and maintained by a Member of a Professional Inspectorate such as NSI or SSAIB and to British Standard BS4737 – EN50131.

There are two main types of alarms:

Type A: monitored audible alarm systems requiring an immediate police attendance.

Type B: monitored, audible alarm activations or audible only systems that do not automatically receive a police response unless additional information is provided such as CCTV footage or a report from someone close to the scene.

Please note that ‘999’ automatic dialling alarm equipment is not permitted to be programmed to dial Suffolk Police telephone number(s) or transmit taped messages.