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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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Is it legal to put a spy camera in my home to monitor my partners

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Is it legal to put a spy camera in my home to monitor my partner's carers?
I have reason to believe one of them is not doing her duty correctly.
My partner cannot consent due to capacity issues.
The carer is paid privately through a deputy with funds awarded to my partner.
Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
The concept of putting surveillance in your own home is not in itself illegal. It is what you do with that information that might cause a potential problem.
You have to consider the following:
1. There is no specific right to privacy in the UK;
2. However disseminating that information (especially when recording an individual) may result in a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998;
3. They may have a condition of their engagement in their engagement letter that you are not allowed to monitor them like this so I would check this first.
Conceptually you have to bare in mind the following:
1. If the carer does nothing wrong - then you wont end up using this footage probably destroy and they will be none the wiser;
2. If the carer does do something wrong then you will probably send the footage to his/her employer (or the police) by which point you have probably stopped the intended wrong/abuse, and from your own perspective the advantage of this will far out way any complaint that the carer makes.
I would bare in mind that if the carer finds out for any reason it will likely cause a break down in the relationship. Also under no circumstance can you publish the footage on social media for example, it should only be passed to the appropriate authorities.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi AJ,

Thanks for you response. Can I clarify a few points?

- Can I video and sound record? I suspect wrong doing, but also know of bullying and breaches of confidentiality as well as lying, which can only be detected by capturing conversations.

- An ideal location would be the bedroom, where intimate care and washing occurs, however, my partner would be naked at points. He has 24/7 care and high continence needs, needing carers to help him with everything. Any issues with this?

Thank you.
1. The same principle applies to sound recordings. The issue in itself is not making the recording but what you do with it. Publishing it some how could be deemed a breach of Data Protection Act.
2.Technically this would require your partners consent, but obviously it is a means to an end, again what you do with the recording counts here and if you are going to send the recording to the police etc, you could always ensure that it is redacted to protect your partners privacy. Is your partner in a position to consent?
Kind regards
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Not exactly no. It may be possible, but I am not sure how I would prove consent.

Thank you.
There is an argument that it is an intrusion on your partner's privacy but again would that matter if provided evidence and reason to stop bullying and intimidation from a person in trust.
An alternative is you could start by using just a voice recorder and if your findings are seriousness enough then consider installing the video camera at a later date.
As long as you have consent to be in your partners house and bedroom then it is not a total invasion, you just have to be very careful and ensure that you do not publish the findings or store them for longer than necessary.
Kind regards
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi there,

One final piece of information for you - it is my house 100% owned by me. He lives in it and the care team support him in it, until he has his own house built.

Does this change anything?

Thank you.
Unfortunately what you are proposing is just a grey area. This is because there is no specific right to privacy in the UK. You have to ask whether there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
If it is your home and your property it is implied that anyone enters the home subject to your terms and conditions. If they do not accept your terms and conditions then they should not enter.
Therefore reasonably you could say if you want to film people in your own house, then you are free to do so long as the recording is not then published or used in a derogatory fashion (or in breach of data protection).
I would also note that if you are legally responsible for your partner then you can potentially consent to this on his behalf especially as you are doing it for his long term protection.
Just remember you need to check your carers terms and conditions of engagement to see whether they prohibit this and you should also only do it as far as is proportionate (i.e it should not be indefinite only as long as is required to gather evidence and it should not be done in the toilet for example where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy).
Kind regards
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