CCTV

Camera systems we operate

Our CCTV is used to capture and monitor images of events that take place in specific locations in real time. The images may also be recorded on a computer hard drive or magnetic tape depending on the type of camera. Cameras may be focussed on a fixed location, set to scan a particular area, or they can be operated remotely by specially trained CCTV operators.

Some TfL employees are issued with body worn cameras, for example, Revenue Control Inspectors on the London Underground network. These devices are able to capture audio recordings as well as images. The cameras are clearly visible and only switched on in the event of an incident (for example the member of staff being subjected to verbal abuse or threats of violence).

The cameras used to enforce our Road User Charging schemes (the Congestion Charge and Low Emission Zone) are ANPR cameras which capture number plate data in the form of text rather than images. A still photographic image is also captured for evidential purposes if a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is issued.

Why we operate cameras

We operate CCTV and ANPR cameras for five main purposes:

  • Protecting the health and safety of employees, customers and members of the public
  • Preventing and detecting crime and antisocial behaviour
  • Realtime traffic monitoring
  • Enforcing traffic rules and regulations (eg relating to yellow box junctions, red routes and bus lanes); and our Road User Charging Schemes
  • Supporting the efficient management and operation of our road and rail networks

Camera locations

We have cameras in and around the following locations:

  • London Underground stations, depots, car parks and trains
  • Across London's road network for monitoring road traffic and for traffic enforcement
  • Across London's road network for enforcement of our Road User Charging Schemes
  • TfL bus stations and depots
  • Piers operated by London River Services;
  • Piers used by Woolwich Ferry Services and on the Woolwich ferries
  • Victoria Coach Station
  • Our office buildings

Length of time we keep information

Recorded CCTV images are only retained for a limited time period, which varies depending on the type and location of the camera, and the purpose of its use. Below is a guide to some of our standard retention periods for images. 

Camera location or purposeDefault retention period
London Underground stations14 days
London Underground trains72 hours
TfL Bus stations30 days
London River Services piers30 days
Victoria Coach Station28 days
Body worn cameras14 days
Traffic monitoring and enforcement camerasImages are only recorded where vehicles are seen committing traffic contravention. Images not resulting in the issue of a PCN are deleted after 28 days. Images resulting in the issue of a PCN are deleted 180 days after the PCN is closed.

Road user charging schemes

See our Road User Charging privacy page 

Keeping personal information secure

We take the privacy of our customers and the wider public very seriously and a range of robust policies, processes and technical measures are in place to control and safeguard access to, and use of, personal information associated with our CCTV and ANPR systems. 

Accessing your personal data

You can request copies of images or footage of yourself by making a subject access request.

You will need to provide as much information as possible about when and where the images or images were captured (ie the specific date, time and location). You will also need to submit a clear full length photograph of yourself with your request so that we can identify you when searching for the relevant images.

For more information, please see Access your data.

There is a separate form if you wish to obtain copies of still photographic images captured by the Road User Charging cameras.

Sharing personal information

TfL has contracts with a number of third party service providers, which provide maintenance services and ensure the efficient day-to-day operation of our CCTV. We also use external service providers to manage CCTV in London Underground station car parks and to download images from station CCTV cameras when we have a business need to retain CCTV images for longer than the default retention period.

On a case by case basis we may use and share CCTV images for research and analysis purposes. For example it may be used to improve the management of health and safety incidents, or travel demand management.

Some of TfL's CCTV infrastructure is shared with third parties such as the police and local authorities. In certain agreed circumstances, they may take control of a limited number of cameras and use them for activities such as the prevention and detection of crime and anti social behaviour, policing major events and crowd control. These arrangements are covered by information sharing agreements and TfL is not responsible for the CCTV when it is in the control of the third party.

Under a separate arrangement, we also share the ANPR cameras we use to enforce our Road User Charging schemes with the Metropolitan Police, who receive a direct feed of data for the purpose of preventing and detecting crime and for safeguarding national security. Find out more about this on our Road User Charging privacy page

In some circumstances, other disclosures of personal data (including CCTV images) to the police and other law enforcement agencies are permitted by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), if they relate to the prevention or detection of crime and/or the apprehension or prosecution of offenders. Before any such disclosure takes place, the police are required to demonstrate that the personal data concerned will assist them in this respect. Each police request to TfL is dealt with on a strictly case-by-case basis to ensure that any such disclosure is lawful and in accordance with the DPA.

CCTV on London buses

London's bus services are operated by individual bus companies on behalf of TfL. Any CCTV on London buses is the responsibility of the company that runs that particular service or route. If you require access to images of yourself recorded by a CCTV camera inside a bus you should contact the company who operates that particular bus route. You can find this information from signage displayed inside each vehicle or you can search a for a route number to find the operator.

CCTV and Docklands Light Railway

Docklands Light Railway is operated by a concession holder on behalf of TfL. Any CCTV systems in or around Docklands Light Railway stations, depots or trains are generally the responsibility of the company that holds the concession. If you require access to images of yourself recorded by a CCTV camera installed on Docklands Light Railway infrastructure you should contact the concession holder. You can do this via our Contact DLR page.

CCTV and London Overground

London Overground is operated by a concession holder on behalf of TfL. Any CCTV systems in or around London Overground stations, depots or trains are generally the responsibility of the company that holds the concession. If you require access to images of yourself recorded by a CCTV camera installed on London Overground infrastructure you should contact the concession holder. You can do this via our Contact London Overground page.

CCTV and Trams

Trams are operated by a concession holder on behalf of TfL. Any CCTV systems in or around tram stations, depots or trams are generally the responsibility of the company that holds the concession. If you require access to images of yourself recorded by a CCTV camera installed on tram infrastructure, you should contact the concession holder. You can do this via our Contact Trams page.

CCTV and TfL Rail

TfL Rail is operated by a concession holder on behalf of TfL. Any CCTV systems in or around TfL Rail stations, depots or trains are generally the responsibility of the company that holds the concession. If you require access to images of yourself recorded by a CCTV camera installed on TfL Rail infrastructure, you should contact the concession holder. You can do this via our Contact TfL Rail page.

Taxis and private hire vehicles

Taxis and private hire vehicles operating in London are licensed and regulated by TfL but the services are provided by independent operators and drivers. Some licensed taxi and private hire drivers/operators have installed CCTV in their vehicles for the purposes of protecting the health and safety of drivers and passengers; and the prevention and detection of crime. Each individual driver/operator that has chosen to do so is fully responsible for their own CCTV system(s).

TfL's Taxi and Private Hire function provides formal guidance to drivers and operators wishing to install CCTV, which outlines the standards with which the equipment must comply. Once installed, CCTV equipment is examined as part of the annual taxi or private hire vehicle licensing inspection.

If you require access to images of yourself captured inside a taxi or private hire vehicle you should contact the company or driver who operates that particular vehicle. You can find this information on signage displayed inside the vehicle.

Find out more in our Guidelines for CCTV in Taxis and PHV (PDF 254KB).

External guidelines and best practice

TfL operates its CCTV and ANPR systems in compliance with the data protection code of practice for surveillance cameras and personal information issued by the Information Commissioner's Office. The Code provides good practice advice for those involved in operating CCTV and other surveillance camera devices that view or record individuals. It also covers other information that relates to individuals, for example vehicle registration marks captured by ANPR equipment.

We also voluntarily comply with the 12 principles set out in the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice issued by the Home Office (which applies to local authorities and police forces in England and Wales). It states that organisations which use surveillance camera (including CCTV and ANPR) systems must:

  • use them for a specified purpose in pursuit of a legitimate aim
  • take into account their effect on individuals and their privacy
  • be as transparent as possible about how they use them
  • have clear responsibility and accountability arrangements for all surveillance activities
  • have clear rules, policies and procedures in place
  • have no more images and information stored than is strictly necessary
  • restrict access to retained images and information
  • work to meet and maintain relevant operational, technical and competency standards
  • have in place appropriate security measures to safeguard against unauthorised access and use
  • have effective review and audit mechanisms
  • use them in the most effective way to support public safety and law enforcement
  • keep associated data accurate and up to dateĀ 
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