Should you do so in any case?
This mainly concerns business premises. If you think that some of the following applies to you and you are not a business then it is advisable for you to telephone the Information Commissioner's Office for guidance.
It all seems to be a bit confusing, which is due to a court case where the Judge ruled that not all CCTV data comes within the Data Protection Act, whereas previously all CCTV users had to register if the system was in a public place. It's mainly to do with defining individual or specific individuals rather than an anonymous bunch of people.
Recording general scenes of activity do not require registration. Random members of the public are not considered to be data subjects unless there is a specific person who is purposely being recorded, but if there are occasions where the system is used for targeting an individual, e.g. making sure a member of staff is performing correctly, then registration is required.
If the system is normally used for general surveillance with no particular person in mind, but then there are times when a certain person will be targeted, then that person comes within the Act, but the others do not. Therefore, you must register, but any member of the public who is not targeted specifically does not have the right to have access to recorded data.
If you're not liable to register, consider this.... for £35 a year you might as well register in any case, on the assumption that there might be times when a specific person needs to be recorded. A known shoplifter might be the focus of your recordings, for example.
Your system will be more credible if you register.
If in doubt, call the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office)
In any case, you should have a suitable management system to control your CCTV activities whether you are registered or not. If you do not have a management system then your data will not be considered credible or reliable. Offer the police a recording of a criminal event without any code of practice or forms to back it up, and they will most likely not want to become involved. It would be considered unreliable evidence in Court.
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