Speaking at the recent National Pubwatch Conference, Walsh warned that even complying with police requests to provide CCTV could “potentially be illegal”.
Referring to this part of UK law as a “tricky area”, he said that the police must provide an official request document before licensees disclose CCTV.
Walsh said that if licensees shared information without the proper paperwork, they could find themselves in breach of the Data Protection Act. This act allows information to be shared for the purposes of crime detection, but only when the correct documents have been provided.
“There has to be a formal request from the police and it has to be sufficiently detailed to allow the data controller (licensee) to know the reason why the data has been requested,” he told the conference.
Walsh added that there is a specific “grey area” when a venue’s licence states that it is obliged to disclose CCTV, however, clarity on this is only likely to be achieved when a case has gone through the legal appeal process. “[This] is an issue that is going to find its way into the High Court one day,” he said.