Bodycams and SIA Licensing

If you're using a bodycam or a headcam for security purposes then you may need a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. Bodycams and headcams are 'hands-free' video recording devices that are worn on the body. They will usually produce a video feed that is viewed live by someone in another location, or is recorded and then viewed later.

This page explains which licence you'll need if you use bodycams or headcams to perform activities that are licensable under the Private Security Industry Act 2001. We intend this information to be used as general guidance. It's not possible for us to cover all situations in which bodycams and headcams may be used. You should seek independent legal advice if you're in any doubt as to whether your specific circumstances require you to hold an SIA licence.

When you need a front line licence

If you view footage recorded by a bodycam or a headcam then you are likely to fall within the definition of public space surveillance (CCTV) activity.

You need a Public Space Surveillance (CCTV) licence if all of the following statements are true:

  1. You use CCTV to watch members of the public or to identify particular individuals.
  2. You use CCTV to guard against disorder or to protect individuals from assault. This includes the use of CCTV to prevent these things from happening, or to provide information about them if they do happen.
  3. Your services are supplied under contract to a client.

You need an SIA licence if all of the following statements are true. This could be for public space surveillance (CCTV), close protection, door supervision or security guarding.

  1. You use CCTV to watch members of the public or to identify particular individuals.
  2. You use CCTV to identify a trespasser or protect property. This includes the use of CCTV to prevent these things from happening, or to provide information about them if they do happen.
  3. Your services are supplied under contract to a client.

You still need an SIA licence even if the CCTV footage you are viewing is from a bodycam or a headcam.

When you need a non-front line licence

You need a non-front line licence if:

  • You won't personally be doing the activity described above, but will be managing or supervising people who will.
  • You're a partner or director in a company that uses bodycams or headcams for such purposes.

When you don’t need a licence

You don’t need an SIA licence if you only wear a bodycam or headcam but do not watch any of the footage from that device.

Further information

When dealing public space surveillance (CCTV) matters, you must take into consideration the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. This includes the seven data protection principles that support the regulation.

Information held by organisations that relates to individuals is covered by the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018. Most organisations that process personal data are required to register as a data controller with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

Read the ICO's Guide to Data Protection

If you are using footage captured by a bodycam for law enforcement purposes (for example, in a criminal investigation or in the prosecution of an offender), then you must handle it in line with Part 3 of the Data Protection Act 2018. This only applies to 'competent authorities' (such as the police or HMRC) and their data processors.

Read the ICO's Guide to Law Enforcement Processing