CCTV - requesting footage

Please be aware that footage is held for 31 days from time of recording. You should therefore submit your request within 21 days of the recording to allow sufficient time for the request to be received and processed before the footage is deleted.

Due to the time and resources needed to view and extract information related to CCTV requests, speculative requests for footage will not be processed. Rather, requests must be submitted in writing with proof of identity / authorisation (as applicable). The Council will issue instructions for request-specific payments on receipt of the verification documents.

The Council will only initiate a search for CCTV footage once all verification documents and the fee have been received.

Fees

Fees will be charged per individual request, regardless of the outcome and/or the format on which results are provided. Any changes of parameter (i.e. timeframes) may be treated as a separate request.

A £10 fee is payable where your request is processed under the Data Protection Act 1998, i.e. where the request is for:

  • Footage of you
  • Footage of someone you are acting on behalf of
  • Fees for other types of requests, i.e. those processed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 will be charged in accordance with the Council's Charging Policy.

There will be no charge for the disclosure to investigating authorities, i.e. the police, where the footage is required for the prevention and detection of crime.

Verification documents required

The footage is of you

The request must be in writing

We require that you use Westminster City Council’s CCTV Data Protection Request Form as this outlines the level of detail required in order to determine which camera(s) in the Council’s network are likely to have captured the footage and to isolate the relevant images within the captured footage.

 Proof of identity

This is required in order to ensure that we are meeting legal obligations to ensure that the information is released in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.  Details of the proofs accepted can be found on the form.

Include a photograph

This further enables the Council to identify you in the footage and therefore to locate the requested information. 

The footage is of your property

If you are not in the footage, but believe it will contain evidence of a crime and/or criminal damage against your property (e.g. theft of a bicycle, damage to a parked car) then we recommend that you refer the matter to the police or your insurance company in the first instance.  Your insurance company should submit their request for footage as detailed below.

The footage is of someone (or their property) that you are acting on direct behalf of

The request must be in writing

You can submit the CCTV Data Protection Request Form, or submit the request on your company's headed paper. It must include, however, the full details that are requested in the form.

You must include confirmation that acting on a specific person's behalf, giving their full name.

You must include written authorisation from the person that they consent to the information being sent to you on their behalf.

Police requests Requests by the Police are dealt with under different procedures which are not detailed here.
Other requests

Should your request for CCTV footage be for any other information than those given above then it is likely to be considered under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  You should submit your request in writing, giving full details of the location, time frames and specific content of the footage being sought.

How long will it take?

The deadline for a response depends on the legislation which the request is processed under.  The Council will contact you, however, to acknowledge your request and issue instructions for request-specific payments within 5 working days.

On receipt of a fee the Council will inform you of the deadline for your request.

Under Data Protection this is 40 calendar days, although the Council will endeavour to provide a response as soon as practicable.

Requests for footage falling under Freedom of Information Act 2000 will be responded to within 20 working days, subject to any exemptions that may apply.

How will the footage be provided to me?

If the relevant footage is held, it will be provided to you in the following format:

If there are no factors affecting the disclosure of that information (see below), the footage will be provided on a CD-ROM, which will include instructions on how to view the content.

If it is not possible, however, to provide the full footage we will consider if we are able to provide relevant still images.

If we are unable to release the full footage or stills we may provide a written description of the footage. 

Factors affecting disclosure of footage

Your request for CCTV will not be successful where:

It is not a Westminster City Council camera

There are a number of cameras within the borough which are operated and managed by other authorities (e.g. Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police) as well as private companies (such as shops). 

In such cases you will need to contact them directly, and we may be unable to advise on which organisation owns the camera(s).

Useful Links

For information requests

The camera was pointing in a different direction or not recording

The majority of Westminster cameras are able to swivel and “tour” an area, which may be done on a pre-set basis or under the control of Systems Operators. 

This may result in an incident being only partially-captured or not captured at all.

 Some cameras also may not be working or are temporarily offline for maintenance, which means that they are not recording.

Police involvement

If the footage is required for the detection and investigation of a crime then the footage will be reserved for the Police, and you, your solicitors or your insurance company will need to contact them directly for a copy.

Too little detail is provided in the request

We need sufficient information to be able to locate the requested footage:  i.e. you need to be able to specify the likely content (description of person, event, date and time etc), otherwise this will not be viewed as a valid request under the Data Protection Act 1998 or the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

In such circumstances we will not ask for further detail from the applicant as this is comprehensively asked for in the first instance in our form.

The time frame is too broad

We will not undertake a search if the applicant is unable to narrow down the time frame to a “reasonable window”.

 We will look at each request on its own merits considering length of time against number of cameras in the area, but as a general rule of thumb the applicant should seek to narrow the timeframe to within a few hours.

Third party data

We are legally obliged to consider the rights of any third parties appearing in the footage.  Disclosure will depend on the captured actions of those third parties and/or whether or not they are identifiable from their images.

Further Information

 For further information please see the Westminster City Council’s CCTV Code of Practice.

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