CCTV camera recording - can CCTV cameras record sound?

CCTV cameras are a great piece of equipment to own, for the safety of your home or your business. A CCTV camera can act as a very effective crime deterrent as it means you can monitor the activities surrounding your property at all times.

One commonly asked question is 'Can CCTV cameras can record sound, and what does that mean for you as a property owner?'

You'll be pleased to hear that, yes, modern CCTV cameras can record audio. This means that your CCTV system can be the eyes and the ears that watch over your property. Some CCTV cameras come with built-in audio input, while others can be connected to a remote microphone for clearer sound. It really depends on your premises and your security needs. IP CCTV cameras gather audio data from the camera itself so the sound is automatically digitalised, whereas analogue cameras need to have audio input through a digital video recorder. 

Benefits of CCTV with Audio Recording

CCTV itself is an incredible tool for safety, but having an audio channel ensures you are doubled up on security. By being able to record and playback audio from your CCTV camera, you will be able to hear any destruction and be notified immediately, which could be incredibly useful in any crime investigation.

CCTV audio recordings can also double up as an extra pair of eyes in blind spots. If you can hear what’s going on, CCTV cameras are able to give you an idea of activity within a space out of the cameras reach through background noise and speech.

Most importantly, CCTV audio can give away a crime suspect just as well as a camera. By picking up a potential perpetrator’s voice, you may be able to identify them easily and quickly.

There are also CCTV cameras that have two-way audio – these cameras have a built-in speaker, and you can communicate through this speaker via an app or the main console.

Which one is best for recording audio: an analogue CCTV camera or an IP CCTV camera?

Analog cameras were the traditional choice for CCTV security. They work by sending video over cable to VCR’s or DVR’s. Alternatively, an IP camera is completely digital and can send signals over cable to be stored within a network.

If you are attempting to monitor a low-light setting, an analogue camera performs better in low light. However, an IP camera offers better zoom and a better overall image. If you want to catch a crime suspect, you’re more likely to identify them with an IP CCTV camera.

For audio purposes, an IP CCTV camera is the most straight-forward option as their cabling requirements are less complex; they also provide remote manageability for ease of evidence-keeping. You'll find IP cameras work with Network Video Recorder systems to record high quality footage and audio.

CCTV Audio Recording Laws and Regulations

In the UK, all CCTV recordings are covered by the Data Protection Act and enforced by the Information Commissions Office (ICO).

Here are the legal obligations you must follow when operating a CCTV system and recording audio:

  1. Conversations between members of the public cannot be recorded, but there are exceptions in cases where audio is recorded for a specific purpose
  2. You must register with the ICO as a CCTV operator and state the purpose for its use 
  3. Signs must be clearly mounted and positioned in the area which state that CCTV and audio recording is in operation 
  4. Never install CCTV cameras in private places such as toilets, bedrooms and dressing rooms 
  5. Delete recordings after 31 days (you can read more about how to legally store CCTV recordings here) 

Need an extra layer of security?

Our CCTV Systems include: 

  • PTZ Cameras
  • IP Cameras and Surveillance
  • External CCTV Detection Units 
  • Digital Video Recording and Network Video Recording 
  • Hard Drive Recorders

From conventional CCTV cameras to digital IP cameras, we can assist you in getting the most appropriate CCTV security system for your premises. Here at IDS, we understand that everyone's security needs are different, that's why we offer bespoke security system services. Whether you're looking to tighten up the security at your office, or you want to protect your home, we can help you build a security system that includes everything from CCTV to burglar alarms!

If you would like to discuss the best option for your property or business, contact us for a no-obligation quote below. Not sure what would be best for you? No problem, just fill out our security survey and we'll be in touch to recommend the best solution for your requirements.

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