The Department for Communities and Local Government is to issue new guidance amid concerns from publicans and the industry that cameras were on course to be made mandatory as part of a licence application.
The Information Commissioner’s office said it was concerned by the development towards cameras becoming a legal condition within pubs.
A stricter code of practice to strike a balance between privacy and security is being issued by the Department to licencing authorities.
It is aimed at encouraging police and local authorities to deem whether cameras are “appropriate” in all premises.
The new Code states applications must “take into account the circumstances surrounding that application and whether a requirement to have a surveillance camera system is appropriate in that particular case”.
“For example, it is unlikely that a trouble-free community pub would present a pressing need such that a surveillance camera condition would be justified,” the guidelines add.
Community Pubs Minister Brandon Lewis said: “CCTV has a role to play in stopping and deterring crime in anti-social behaviour hotspots. But well-run community pubs that don’t have a public order problem shouldn’t be tarred with the same brush.
“The public deserves to have a pint in peace in a community pub without being snooped on. This government has called time on Big Brother’s secret, intrusive and costly rules that has forced pub landlords to pay to install CCTV where it was not needed.
“The use of surveillance cameras should only be used if it is necessary and where it has public support.”
The new legislation follows the Government’s publication of a new Surveillance Camera Code of Practice, which was devised by the principal of ‘surveillance by consent’ in a bid to improve public confidence in CCTV cameras.