Requests For CCTV Footage- How Do You Handle Them?

As our camera footprint extends around the world and into retail environments I am trying to make a policy/procedure for our operators to follow when we get requests for copies of footage. Wondering how others handle this?

How do you prioritize the requests so it is easy and simple for an operator to understand when they take a phone call. Obviously armed robbery or a homicide is of utmost importance and needs to be handled right away, but after that it tends to get a bit murky.

Also, do you make the requestor fill out some sort of form? Or is an email describing the who, what, when, where, why and how type of stuff sufficient? Currently we have an online form that is filled out and then approved by the proper HR personnel before we even review footage. Now we are starting to get requests from facilities and entities that do not have access to our internal corporate network.

Any guidance would be appreciated.


Keep it simple. Limit the people who can request video to a certain level of management, such as district or region managers. Dont make a process more complicated than it needs to be. Simple emails work just fine and you archive them for later use if needed.

You need to make sure the local laws are followed. There are privacy laws for convicted criminals in some countries.

How many of your requests are customer driven, even if trivial, like "I think I left my <blank> on the <blank>, can you look on your cameras and see?"

Or do you not even entertain such enquiries?

I wouldnt entertain it because by doing so you set a precident for others.

My wife asked this recently at a store where she had thought she had left something she was carrying, and wanted to know if she still had it when she was in the store. I unsuccessfully tried to talk her out it, saying that "they won't, if they did that everytime someone left their cell phone..."

But they said that they would look and, of course I was greeted with the expression of "i told you so". They called back the next day to say they couldn't tell. When I tried to give the same expression back, it fell flat. But I still don't think they looked, and saying that they can't tell is an easy way out.

they can't tell - as in they can't say (for policy reasons)?

or they can't tell - as in they can't make out if she left what she was carrying?

Meaning they couldn't visually tell if she was carrying a Nordstrom's bag. They have many cameras, so I'm pretty sure they could tell if they really wanted to.

But I don't blame them, it could be 15 minutes time of a senior employee, depending. And the cameras aren't there for that reason.

Rumack: Captain, how soon can you land?
Captain Oveur: I can't tell.
Rumack: You can tell me. I'm a doctor.
Captain Oveur: No. I mean I'm just not sure.
Rumack: Well, can't you take a guess?
Captain Oveur: Well, not for another two hours.
Rumack: You can't take a guess for another two hours?

You might like to know that the UK there is a statuary law (section 5.2.3) where a charge no more than 10uk pounds ( which now is like same as two packets of M&Ms ) can be charged for any member of public requests.

This should at most cover the cost associated with such request.

Perhaps some state Laws for US could be made in a similar fashion.

Thanks for all the responses folks! I have been out for a few days so just getting back to see these. We currently only allow managers or human resources to request footage through on online form on our companies intranet. The issue we are facing now is that we are expanding in to retail and also managing cameras at facilities that do not have access to our company intranet.

I like the simple email idea. We have a systems team email address that could easily be used for that. Let the store manager and asst managers know that they are the ones the requests need to flow through.

I also think we will not even entertain the requests from the general public, but I will need to consider that I guess.

I am not sure if there any specific local laws we will need to follow in the US major metro areas we are in (NY, LA, Chicago, etc.) but will also do some digging there.