A CCTV (closed circuit television) operator works in a central control room, monitoring and controlling a bank of screens. These are linked to surveillance cameras placed in public places, buildings and places such as construction sites, to detect and prevent crime, and protect people.
You could be:
sitting in front of a bank of up to 15 screens, constantly monitoring the live pictures that come in from the surveillance cameras
operating the position of the cameras, for example if a cash machine is about to be emptied, you would focus the camera on the security guard
monitoring anyone acting suspiciously, and alerting security staff or police if you see an act of theft, vandalism or any other crime
monitoring cleaning staff working in large empty buildings for their safety
notifying the police of any anti-social behaviour
keeping a log of all incidents to pass onto police
called to give evidence in court as a witness.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting pay is often based on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW).
As of 1 April 2022 the National Minimum Wage is £4.81 an hour for workers aged 16 to 17, £6.83 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and £9.18 an hour for workers aged 21 to 22. The National Living Wage is £9.50 for workers aged 23 and over.
With experience, you could earn up to £11.00 an hour. You may get a shift allowance.
You would work indoors in a central control room in front of a number of screens.
You would be expected to work shifts to cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many jobs advertised are for 12 hour shifts with 4 days on and 4 days off.
You may work in a team of operators or on your own.
You would keep in frequent contact with colleagues through telephone and radio contact.
Previous experience in a security position may be useful but is not necessary.
A Public Space Surveillance (CCTV) Licence from the Security Industry Authority (SIA) is required to work as a CCTV operator. Some employers will expect you to already have this licence.
To qualify for this licence you must be aged 18 or over. You will also need to pass an identity check, a criminal record check and have achieved an SIA approved Award for Working as a CCTV Operator (Public Space Surveillance) in the Private Security Industry (Scotland) at SCQF Level 6.
To achieve this you must study three mandatory modules, which take 32 hours to complete.
See the SIA website for a list of accredited Public Space Surveillance (CCTV) qualifications.
Jobs are often with local authorities which will be advertised on myjobscotland website. There are also jobs with Police Scotland in some areas. See their website for current vacancies.
What Does it Take?
You should be:
alert and observant
able to work alone without supervision
able to concentrate over long periods
discreet, never discussing anything you see on the monitors with anyone outside work
able to remain calm under pressure
able to react quickly
able to work in a team and alone.
You should have:
excellent communication skills
a responsible approach.
Training is usually on the job. Your employer may put you through the qualifications necessary to obtain the Public Space Surveillance (CCTV) Licence.
Working in a large organisation may give you better potential for promotion to supervisor or manager.