Installing surveillance cameras? Don’t make these errors

After the implementation of the so called Omnibus Law in Spain, any company or individual can install a security camera system without having to comply with the requirements demanded by the Ministry of the Interior. Thus, many communities of neighbours may choose to install the CCTV cameras themselves. But the results are not always as expected. 

The lack of knowledge and experience on this matter may end up being a problem for a poorly efficient installation. That's why I would like to recommend the readers ten mistakes that should NEVER be made when installing a surveillance camera system in a community of owners.


1. Not dealing with an Approved Security Company.

If we want to ensure the proper functioning of the system, its adaptation to the existing regulations, obtaining the correct support on the custody of the recordings in the event of a crime, it is essential that both the installation and maintenance of the system is on the hands of a Spanish Security Company Approved by the General Directorate of Police.


2. Not registering the video surveillance file in the AEPD

Many users think that with registering the general data file of the Community in the Spanish Agency of Data Protection is enough ... big error! All Community of Owners, after its creation, must have at least one personal data file registered in the Agency: which include all members of the community. This file includes data such as NIE name of owners, etc. But in addition to this file, if the development has a security camera system, the video surveillance file must be registered with the Agency indicating its purpose.


3. Use domestic material in the installation

The installation of domestic material (domestic recorders, hard disks, computer monitors ...) seriously jeopardises the proper operation of the video surveillance system. This type of system may be sufficient for a private home installation but not for a community of owners. The purpose of these systems is to be operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Household material is not designed to operate uninterrupted. Homeowners' Communities should be equipped with professional elements: vandal proof surveillance cameras, hard drives and security monitors that ensure the smooth operation of the system and optimum performance.


4. Not protecting well enough the recorder machine.

If the recordings of the video surveillance system suffer theft or sabotage, the system will cease to be functional. Therefore, the recorder that collects the images from the cameras cannot be vulnerable, it must be protected by a security cabinet installed in a safe place that guarantees the integrity and privacy of the recordings and only authorised users will be able to access the recorder.


5. Not reporting the presence of surveillance cameras.

Users should be informed of the presence of security cameras in the Community of Owners by means of posters placed in clearly visible spaces.


6. Security cameras focusing on public roads or public spaces.

As indicated in the Organic Law on Data Protection, surveillance cameras in the Homeowners' Communities will not be able to focus on public roads (except as strictly necessary and always respecting the principle of proportionality) or private spaces (interior of the dwellings).


7. Not hiring a maintenance service.

If the Community of Owners does not contract a maintenance service, there is a risk that system recordings will not be available when they are really needed (in case of any incidents or misdemeanour) due to system failure. Having a Security Company Approved for the maintenance of the installation of surveillance cameras, guarantees its good operation.


8. Anyone viewing the images in real time.

Visiting the monitors of the video surveillance system for security purposes is the sole function of validly accredited security guards. As indicated in the Private Security Law, custodians and owners will not, under any circumstances, perform security functions.


9. Not changing the access keys to the recorder machine.

The access keys to the recorder must be changed every year and with each change of president (person responsible for the file).


10. Not having a Security Document.

In each video surveillance installation, a Security Document should be created that includes, among other things, the measures necessary to guarantee the integrity of the data. It should also be kept updated by collecting all the incidents that occur in the system and affect the data file such as key changes, image extractions, registration of new users, etc.

Taking into account this basic guide will help the community of owner getting into trouble waters when it is needed most i.e. when a break in or a vandalism act occurs.


Have a successful surveillance!!

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As it is impossible to know in detail every case asked in this blog, all our replies are given in good faith but we strongly suggest that you obtain private advice from a solicitor /and /or  architect who will be able to study in depth your own particular case.

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