Can I publish a video or photos of people I suspect are shoplifting?

If you use CCTV to detect and record crime, it is legitimate to provide copies to Police so they can investigate. If you have banned someone from the shop for suspected shoplifting, you might also want to make a still image or photo accessible to staff. However, there are considerable risks to you if you choose to publish those images to the world at large or upload them online.

Although you may think the image shows that a person has shoplifted goods or you may suspect they have and want to find out who they are, there is always the possibility that you are mistaken. Publishing and sharing an image without checking its accuracy can cause the person serious embarrassment and make you vulnerable to a potential defamation law suit.

We have published guidance on the use of CCTV and photographic images that is available on our website. You might also want to read about this actual case which our office dealt with in which a shop manager posted photos on Facebook of a teenage girl whom she suspected of shoplifting.

If you believe you have evidence that a crime has been committed, you should contact Police.