Small and medium enterprises in the UK need to pay special attention to new guidance on how to operate CCTV surveillance systems.

The Government’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recently published new CCTV guidelines in the light of a court case that has altered the way the Data Protection Act can be taken to relate to individuals.

Companies failing to pay attention to the guidance could find themselves in breach of the DPA, and also at risk of negating the use of gathered footage in legal cases.

Any business that can remotely operate CCTV cameras - and which uses them to monitor specific individuals - needs to assess the guidance. Small operations such as corner stores are not thought to be affected.

Large-scale CCTV schemes set up to monitor town centres should also probably escape the need for a review, according to a document put out by the ICO.

It is likely that there will be some confusion among businesses as to whether the new guidance applies to them or not. There are certainly plenty of exceptions to the above rule that companies should take into account before ruling themselves to be in compliance with the law.

The ICO has published a number - 01625 545 740 - for businesses that want further details on the new regime.