Public realm CCTV upgrade

As part of the Digital and Smart City Strategy 2020-2023, the Council is replacing its Public Realm CCTV system. Many of Edinburgh’s CCTV cameras are no longer made and can no longer be maintained. Upgrading our CCTV system will improve our proactive monitoring and response to events in the city. Operators will be able to alert the emergency services to incidents and provide real time information to help them.

We will start changing equipment in 2021 and the upgrade will continue into 2022. We don’t expect the upgrade to cause disruption to people as we are replacing the cameras and not the CCTV columns.

As well as helping keep people safe, the new intelligent system will show us how people interact with the environment – whether that’s travelling on foot, by bike or in a vehicle. This new CCTV system will bring many benefits to Edinburgh by

  • improving public safety
  • understanding people flow, traffic flow and city planning
  • reducing our carbon footprint
  • creating a city operations hub to manage major events or emergencies.

You can find all our camera locations on our CCTV locations map.

Face recognition will not be used on the CCTV cameras.

Purpose of using CCTV cameras

CCTV cameras will be installed to

  • maintain public order and reduce anti-social behaviour
  • deter and prevent crime and violent crime
  • reduce the fear of crime
  • protect property
  • assist crowd control
  • monitor and manage transport networks
  • support legal proceedings
  • provide help with issues relating to public safety and health
  • contribute to the location of vulnerable and missing people
  • help and reassurance to any public emergency situations.


The following legislation is relevant to the Council’s operation of CCTV:

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Data Protection Act 2018
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995
  • Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
  • Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000

Only fully trained Council staff will have access to control and view the system for the performance of tasks carried out in the public interest.

The new system will have robust inbuilt access controls and audit capabilities.

All images not used for evidential purposes will be automatically deleted after 14 days.

The Council’s CCTV Scheme will be operated in accordance with an agreed CCTV Code of Practice