The change comes following concerns from licensees and the public that licensing authorities are making CCTV a legal condition of every pub licence as a matter of course. The Information Commissioner’s office, the UK’s privacy watchdog, has said it was seriously concerned by the development.
The surveillance camera code of practice has been laid before Parliament for approval, as part of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The new code is designed to strike a better balance between privacy and security.
The new code states:
"Applications in relation to licensed premises must take into account the circumstances surrounding that application and whether a requirement to have a surveillance camera system is appropriate in that particular case. For example, it is unlikely that a trouble-free community pub would present a pressing need such that a surveillance camera condition would be justified".
Community Pubs Minister Brandon Lewis said: "CCTV has a role to play in stopping and deterring crime in anti-social behaviour hotspots. But well-run community pubs that don’t have a public order problem shouldn’t be tarred with the same brush.
"The public deserves to have a pint in peace in a community pub without being snooped on. This government has called time on Big Brother’s secret, intrusive and costly rules that has forced pub landlords to pay to instal lCCTV where it was not needed.
"The use of surveillance cameras should only be used if it is necessary and where it has public support."