Are CCTV Cameras at Schools enough?

The first form of closed-circuit television (CCTV) technology emerged in Germany in 1942, when a German engineer Walter Bruch designed a system to monitor V-2 rockets. It is only after 1949 that the technology entered mainstream commercial markets, but it still required the expertise of specialist engineers for installation.

But gone are those days now because CCTV cameras can be installed by anyone, anywhere. Whether it’s a shopping mall, commercial center, a brick-and-mortar retail store, or a restaurant, CCTV cameras are a common sight everywhere.

But their use in today’s schools is of particular importance owing to various legal aspects that revolve around employee monitoring in workplaces. School administration has to be careful while leveraging these systems as misuse can call for serious legal implications.

But the question is do these systems discount the value of background verification while recruiting new talent? Let’s discuss it here.

The legality of CCTV camera use

The footages that CCTV cameras capture are actually “personal data”, and may or may not come from an employee’s “private space”. Therefore, the provisions of both Data Protection Acts and human rights law apply to organizations that seek to install CCTV cameras for monitoring employees. There are various reasons why schools may install CCTV cameras in workspaces:

· Security of children & employees: CCTV cameras may be installed to prevent violence, theft and other crimes on office premises.

· Monitoring behaviour: These systems can be installed to ensure that school staff conduct themselves in apt fashion.

· Safeguarding business interests: CCTV cameras can be installed to prevent malingering, pilfering, damage to property and any other misdemeanor on the part of employees.

· Assessing performance: CCTV cameras can be used to assess the performance of school staff, improve their productivity and overall quality of services.

· Complying with regulations: Latest CBSE guidelines make it necessary for schools to ensure CCTV installations across the campus

But the key point to remember here is that every employee has the right to privacy. Therefore, it’s important that schools adhere to laws and regulations relating to the use of CCTV cameras in workplaces. They must tell their staff that they are being monitored at work and use these systems only for the purposes stated in the policy. At the same time, employees too have the right to view recorded footages at any time, denial of which would mean a breach of law on the part of the employer.

Connecting the dots between CCTV cameras and background verification

Installing CCTV cameras across schools may seem easy but it’s fraught with risks. Given their privacy needs, employees may view the step as a breach of mutual trust. Some may find it extremely intrusive to be under constant vigilance of employers, who may install these systems without any reasonable cause. This can seriously damage the organization’s reputation as employees may starting leaving the company. This is the reason why schools should have non-intrusive employee monitoring policies in place and ensure that their CCTV monitoring is reasonable enough for complying with the provisions of the human rights law.

When it comes to background verification, CCTV installation do not discount it, instead, it makes the process all the more important. Before an organization even starts with employee monitoring through CCTV systems, they need to first ensure that they are getting the right individuals on board. Background verification of school staff is the only way to do so.

Background Verification of School Staff

Lack of proper background verification and increase in corporate frauds share a strong connection with each other. Background verification can reduce the risks of criminal misconduct in workplaces, thus reducing the need to make CCTV systems a part of their staff monitoring policies. If an organization has a strict background verification system in place, it would get a pool genuine employees who would not only contribute towards business growth but also refrain from conducting unethical activities.

Proper background verification, when conducted during recruitment, can also save employees from any legal complications that maybe associated with hiring employees with criminal records in the past. Intrusive CCTV installation can certainly damage the organization’s reputation if employees start quitting. But the scale of damage is much larger when there’s no background verification to filter out candidates with criminal records. Therefore, background verification is the foundational stone for organizations to build a team of dedicated and genuine employees.

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