Campus Security Policy




Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Systems are installed in a number of Schools / Colleges and Centres for Education and in Administrative Centres and other premises under the remit of County Limerick VEC.  New CCTV systems will be introduced in consultation with staff, board of management and the parents association following the completion of a privacy impact assessment (appendix 2).  Where systems are already in operation, their operation will be reviewed regularly in consultation with staff, the board of management and the parents association.

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“The purpose of this policy is to regulate the use of Closed Circuit Television and its associated technology in the monitoring of both the internal and external environs of premises under the remit of County Limerick VEC”

CCTV systems are installed both internally and externally in Desmond College for the purpose of enhancing security of the building and its associated equipment as well as creating a mindfulness among the occupants, at any one time, that a surveillance security system is in operation within and/or in the external environs of the premises during both the daylight and night hours each day.

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The policy applies to all personnel, schools / colleges and other education and administrative centres under the remit of County Limerick VEC (the VEC) and relates directly to the location and use of CCTV, the monitoring, recording and subsequent use of such recorded material.  Where VEC classes and activities are carried out in rented premises the VEC will ensure that CCTV systems, where installed, are operated only in a way that is compatible with the provisions of this policy.

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The VEC, as the Corporate Body has a statutory responsibility for the protection of its property, equipment and other plant as well providing a sense of security to its employees, students and invitees to its premises.  The VEC owes a duty of care under the provisions of Health Safety and Welfare legislation and utilises CCTV systems and their associated monitoring and recording equipment as an added mode of security and surveillance for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life of the particular school/centre community by integrating the best practices governing the public and private surveillance of its premises.

The primary aim of CCTV monitoring of Desmond College is to deter crime and vandalism and to assist in the protection and safety of the staff, students and visitors, VEC property and its associated equipment and materials.

Monitoring, for security purposes will be conducted in a professional, ethical and legal manner and any diversion of the use of CCTV security technologies for other purposes is prohibited by this policy e.g. CCTV monitoring of political or religious activities, or employee and/or student evaluations would undermine the acceptability of the resources for use regarding critical safety and security objectives and is therefore prohibited by this policy.

Information obtained through video monitoring may only be released when authorised by the Principal following consultation with the Chairperson of the Board of Management and/or the CEO of the VEC.

CCTV monitoring of public areas, for security purposes will be conducted in a manner consistent with all existing policies adopted by the VEC including Equality & Diversity Policy, Dignity at Work Policy, Codes of Practice for dealing with complaints of Bullying & Harassment and Sexual Harassment in VEC Workplaces, and other relevant policies including the provisions set down in Equality and other Educational and related legislation.

This policy prohibits monitoring based on the characteristics and classifications contained in Equality and other related legislation e.g. race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability etc.

Video monitoring of public areas, for security purposes in Desmond College, is limited to uses that do not violate the reasonable expectation to privacy as defined by law.

Information obtained in violation of this policy may not be used in a disciplinary proceeding against an employee of the VEC or a student attending one of its centres.

All CCTV systems and associated equipment will be required to be compliant with this policy following its adoption by the VEC.

Recognisable images captured by CCTV systems are “personal data“.  They are therefore subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Acts 1988-2003.

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Section 2(1)(c)(iii) of the Data Protection Acts require that data are “adequate, relevant and not excessive” for the purpose for which they are collected. This means that the Principal needs to be able to justify the obtaining and use of personal data by means of a CCTV system. A system used to control the perimeter of a building for security purposes will usually be easy to justify. Such a system will typically be intended to capture images of intruders or of individuals damaging property or removing goods without authorisation.

The use of CCTV systems in other circumstances – for example, to constantly monitor students or staff can be more difficult to justify and could involve a breach of the Data Protection Acts. CCTV systems will not be used to monitor normal teacher/student classroom activity in schools and centres of education.

Before considering the installation of CCTV systems to other areas of the school/centre e.g. hallways, stairwells, locker areas, the Principal must demonstrate that there is a proven risk to security and/or health & safety and that the installation of CCTV is proportionate in addressing such issues that have arisen prior to the installation of the system.

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The location of cameras is a key consideration. Use of CCTV to monitor areas where individuals would have a reasonable expectation of privacy would be difficult to justify. Cameras placed so as to record external areas should be positioned in such a way as to prevent or minimise recording of passers-by or of another person’s private property.

Examples of CCTV Video Monitoring and Recording of Public Areas

  • Protection of School / College / Education & Administrative Centre Buildings and Property
    Building perimeter, entrances and exits, lobbies and corridors, special storage areas, laboratories, cashier locations, receiving areas for goods / services
  • Monitoring of Access Control Systems
    Monitoring and record restricted access areas at entrances to buildings and other areas
  • Verification of Security Alarms
    Intrusion alarms, exit door controls, external alarms
  • Video Patrol of Public Areas
    Parking areas, main entrance gates, traffic control
  • Protection of Pedestrians
    Monitoring pedestrian and vehicle traffic activity
  • Criminal Investigations (with special permission)
    Robbery, burglary and theft surveillance

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The use of recording mechanisms to obtain data without an individual’s knowledge is generally unlawful. Covert surveillance is normally only permitted on a case by case basis where the data are kept for the purposes of preventing, detecting or investigating offences, or apprehending or prosecuting offenders. This provision automatically implies an actual involvement of An Garda Síochána or an intention to involve An Garda Síochána.

Covert surveillance must be focused and of short duration. Only specific (and relevant) individuals/locations should be recorded. If no evidence is obtained within a reasonable period, the surveillance should cease.

If the surveillance is intended to prevent crime, overt cameras may be considered to be a more appropriate measure, and less invasive of individual privacy.

Permission of CEO of the VEC must be obtained before considering covert surveillance.

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The Principal will provide written notifications describing the purpose and location of CCTV monitoring, a contact number for those wishing to discuss CCTV monitoring and guidelines for its use. A map indicating the location of cameras is included on Appendix 3. The location of CCTV cameras will also be indicated to the Board of Management and the CEO. Adequate signage will be placed at appropriate and prominent locations and will include wording such as the following, indicating the distinct purpose the information will be used for:

CCTV cameras in operation
Images are recorded for the purpose of security, crime prevention and safety.

This scheme is controlled by
Desmond College & County Limerick VEC
For more information contact 069-62205

Appropriate locations for signage will include:

  • at entrances to premises i.e. external doors, school gates
  • reception area
  • at or close to each internal camera
  • appropriate signs have been posted at the school gates, the reception areas and close to all internal cameras.


Section 2(1) (c) (iv) of the Data Protection Acts states that data “shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for” the purposes for which they were obtained. A data controller needs to be able to justify this retention period. For a normal security system, it would be difficult to justify retention beyond a month, except where the images identify an issue – such as a break-in or theft – and is retained specifically in the context of an investigation of that issue.

The storage medium will be stored in a secure environment with a log of access kept. Access will be restricted to authorised personnel.

The images captured by the CCTV system should be retained for a maximum of 28 days, except where the image identifies an issue and is retained specifically in the context of an investigation of that issue.

Tapes/DVDs will be stored in a secure environment with a log of access to tapes kept. Access should be restricted to authorised personnel. Similar measures will be employed when using disk storage, with automatic logs of access to the images created.


Access to the CCTV system and stored images must be restricted to authorised personnel only i.e. Principal and Deputy Principal.

The tapes storing the recorded footage and the monitoring equipment must be securely stored in a restricted area. Unauthorised access to that area must not be permitted at any time. The area should be locked when not occupied by authorised personnel.

A log of access to tapes/images must be maintained.

Requests by An Garda Síochána

Information obtained through video monitoring may only be released when authorised by the Principal following consultation with the CEO of the VEC.

If An Garda Síochána request CCTV images for a specific investigation, the Principal must satisfy him/herself that there is a genuine investigation underway. A request from An Garda Síochána should be in writing on Garda headed notepaper however, for practical purposes pending receipt of the written request, a phone call to the requesting Garda’s station may be sufficient, provided that he/she speaks to a member in the District Office, the station sergeant or a higher ranking officer, as all may be assumed to be acting with the authority of a District/Divisional officer in confirming that an investigation is authorised.

Access requests.

Any person whose image has been recorded has a right to be given a copy of the information recorded n request, provided such an image/recording exists i.e. has not been deleted. To exercise that right, a person must make an application in writing to the VEC. The VEC may charge up to €6.35 for responding to such a request and must respond within 40 days.

Access Requests can be made to the following address:

The Chief Executive Officer County Limerick VEC, Marshal House Dooradoyle Road, Co. Limerick.

Practically, a person should provide necessary information, such as the date, time and location of the recording. If the image is of such poor quality as not to clearly identify an individual, that image may not be considered to be personal data.

In giving a person a copy of his/her data, the VEC may provide a still/series of still pictures, a tape or a disk with relevant images. However, other people’s images will be obscured before the data are released.


The Principal of Desmond College will:

  • ensure that the use of CCTV systems is implemented in accordance with the policy set down by the VEC.
  • oversee and co-ordinate the use of CCTV monitoring for safety and security purposes within the School / Centre.
  • ensure that all existing CCTV monitoring systems will be evaluated for compliance with this policy.
  • ensure that the CCTV monitoring at the School is consistent with the highest standards and protections.
  • review camera locations and be responsible for the release of any information or material stored in video tapes in compliance with this policy.
  • maintain a record of access to or the release of tapes or any material recorded or stored in the system.
  • ensure that monitor recorded tapes are not duplicated for release.
  • ensure that the perminiter
    • of view from fixed location cameras conforms to this policy both internally and externally
    • provide a list of the CCTV cameras and the associated monitoring equipment, and the capabilities of such equipment, located in the school, to the VEC for formal approval
    • approve the location of temporary cameras to be used during special events that have particular security requirements and ensure their withdrawal following such events
    • NOTE: (Temporary Cameras does not include mobile video equipment or hidden surveillance cameras used for authorised criminal investigations.)

      • give consideration to both students and staff petitions regarding possible invasion of privacy or confidentiality due to the location of a particular CCTV camera or associated equipment

      • ensure that all areas being monitored are not in breach of an enhanced expectation of the privacy of individuals within the school/centre and be mindful that no such infringement is likely to take place

      • co-operate with the Health & Safety Officer of the VEC in reporting on the CCTV system in operation in the school

      • advise the VEC to that adequate signage, at appropriate and prominent locations is displayed as detailed above

      • ensure that external cameras are non-intrusive in terms of their positions and views of neighbouring residential housing and comply with the principle of “Reasonable Expectation of Privacy”

      • ensure that monitoring tapes are stored in a secure place with access by authorised personnel only

      • ensure that images recorded on tapes/DVDs/digital recordings are stored for period not longer than 28 days and will then be erased unless required as part of a criminal investigation or court proceedings (criminal or civil) or other bona fide use as approved by the CEO on behalf of the VEC.

      • ensure that when a zoom facility on a camera is being used that there is a second person present with the operator of the camera to guarantee that there is no unwarranted invasion of privacy

      • ensure that camera control is solely to monitor suspicious behaviour and not individual characteristics

      • ensure that camera control is not in breach of the intrusion on intimate behaviour by persons in public areas

      • ensure that mobile video equipment will only be used for criminal investigations and with the approval of the CEO and the local Garda Authorities


      Where a school/centre/office CCTV system is controlled by a Security Company contracted by the VEC, the following applies:

      The VEC will have a written contract with the security company in place which details the areas to be monitored, how long data is to be stored, what the security company may do with the data; what security standards should be in place and what verification procedures may apply.

      Security companies that place and operate cameras on behalf of clients are considered to be “Data Processors”. As data processors, they operate under the instruction of data controllers (their clients). Sections 2(2) and 2C of the Data Protection Acts place a number of obligations on data processors. These include having appropriate security measures in place to prevent unauthorised access to, or unauthorised alteration, disclosure or destruction of, the data, in particular where the processing involves the transmission of data over a network, and against all unlawful forms of processing. This obligation can be met by having appropriate access controls to image storage or having robust encryption where remote access to live recording is permitted.

      Staff of the security company must be made aware of their obligations relating to the security of data.


      The date from which the Policy will apply is the date of adoption by the Committee of County Limerick VEC.

      The implementation of the Policy will be monitored by the Chief Executive Officer and delegated officers of County Limerick VEC (Principal, Director, Centre Manager, APO).

      The Policy will be reviewed and evaluated from time to time. Ongoing review and evaluation will take cognisance of changing information or guidelines (e.g. from the Data Protection Commissioner, An Garda Síochána, Department of Education and Skills, VSSU, C&AG), legislation and feedback from parents/guardians, students, staff and others.

      APPENDIX 1


      Definitions of words/phrases used in relation to the protection of personal data and referred to in the text of the policy;

      CCTV – Closed-circuit television is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors. The images may then be recorded on video tape or DVD or other digital recording mechanism.

      The Data Protection Acts – The Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 confer rights on individuals as well as responsibilities on those persons handling, processing, managing and controlling personal data. All VEC staff must comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Acts when collecting and storing personal information. This applies to personal information relating both to employees of the organisation and individuals who interact with the organisation

      Data – information in a form that can be processed. It includes automated or electronic data (any information on computer or information recorded with the intention of putting it on computer) and manual data (information that is recorded as part of a relevant filing system or with the intention that it should form part of a relevant filing system).

      Personal Data – Data relating to a living individual who is or can be identified either from the data or from the data in conjunction with other information that is in, or is likely to come into, the possession of the data controller.

      Access Request – this is where a person makes a request to the organisation for the disclosure of their personal data under section 4 of the Acts.

      Data Processing – performing any operation or set of operations on data, including:

        Obtaining, recording or keeping the data,
      • Collecting, organising, storing, altering or adapting the data,

      • Retrieving, consulting or using the data,

      • Disclosing the data by transmitting, disseminating or otherwise making it available,

      • Aligning, combining, blocking, erasing or destroying the data.

      Data Subject – an individual who is the subject of personal data.

      Data Controller – a person who (either alone or with others) controls the contents and use of personal data.

      Data Processor – a person who processes personal information on behalf of a data controller, but does not include an employee of a data controller who processes such data in the course of his/her employment, for example, this might mean an employee of an organisation to which the data controller out-sources work. The Act places responsibilities on such entities in relation to their processing of the data.

      APPENDIX 2


      Before a school or college installs a new CCTV system, it is recommended that a documented privacy impact assessment is carried out. A school or college which properly conducts such an assessment is less likely to introduce a system that contravenes the provisions of the Data Protection Acts 1988 & 2003. This is an important procedure to adopt as a contravention may result in action being taking against a school or college by the Commissioner, or may expose a school or college to a claim for damages from a student.

       Some of the points that might be included in a Privacy Impact Assessment are:

      • What is the school/college’s purpose for using CCTV images? What are the issues/problems it is meant to address?
      • Is the system necessary to address a pressing need, such as staff and student safety or crime prevention?
      • Are the CCTV cameras intended to operate on the outside of the premises only?
      • Is it justified under the circumstances?
      • Is it proportionate to the problem it is designed to deal with?
      • Is it intended that CCTV cameras will operate inside of the building?
      • Are internal CCTV cameras justified under the circumstances?
      • Are internal CCTV cameras proportionate to the problem they are designed to deal with?
      • What are the benefits to be gained from its use?
      • Can CCTV systems realistically deliver these benefits? Can less privacy-intrusive solutions, such as improved lighting, achieve the same objectives?
      • Do you need images of identifiable individuals, or could the system use other images which are not capable of identifying the individual?
      • Will the system being considered deliver the desired benefits now and remain suitable in the future?
      • What future demands may arise for wider use of images and how will they be addressed?
      • Are you, the school, the data controller for the entire CCTV system (bearing in mind that some schools under the PPP are managed for operational purposes by management companies)?
      • Where a management company is in place, are you satisfied that it complies with the Data Protection Acts with regard to the processing of images of staff, students and visitors to your school captured on any CCTV systems under its management?
      • What are the views of those who will be under CCTV surveillance?
      • What could be done to minimise intrusion for those whose images may be captured, particularly if specific concerns have been expressed?
      • How have staff, students and visitors been assured by the School that they will not be monitored and that the CCTV system will be used only for the stated purposes?
      • Does the school’s policy on the use of CCTV make it clear that staff (teaching and non-teaching) will not be monitored for performance or conduct purposes?
      • Have the views of staff & students regarding the location of cameras been taken into account?
      • Can the location of each internal camera be justified in accordance with the overall purpose for the use of the CCTV system?
      • Has appropriate signage been erected at the location of each internal camera indicating that recording is taking place and outlining the purpose of such recording?
      • Who will have access to the system and recordings/images?
      • What security measures are in place to protect the CCTV system and recordings/images?
      • Are those who will have authorised access to the system and recordings/images clear about their responsibilities?
      • Are the camera monitors kept out of view of staff, students and visitors and is access to the camera monitors restricted to a limited number of staff on a ‘need to know’ basis?
      • Is the room(s) which houses the camera monitors and the CCTV system securely locked when unattended?
      • Does the school/college have a procedure in place to ensure that recordings/images are erased or deleted as soon as the retention period (28 days) has expired?
      • Does the school/college have a procedure in place for handling requests for access to recordings/images from An Garda Síochána?
      • Will appropriate notices be in place to ensure that individuals know that they are being monitored?
      • Does the school/college/VEC have a data protection policy? Has is been updated to take account of the introduction of a CCTV system?
      • Does the school have a procedure in place to handle access requests seeking a copy of images recorded by the CCTV system (within the statutory timeframe of forty days)?
      • Has the right of access been communicated to staff, students and visitors?
      • Has the school communicated its policy on the use of CCTV to staff, students and visitors and how has this been done?
      • How are new students and new staff informed of the school’s policy on the use of CCTV?