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Code of Practice for the installation and remote monitoring of detector activated CCTV Systems

Integrated systems are emerging as a key characteristic of the security industry and this code of practice sets out to raise the standard of their installation and operation.

Defining Moment

BS8418 – the new Code of Practice for the installation and remote monitoring of detector activated CCTV Systems is set to both raise the standard of integrated systems and define the character of those systems. However, above all, it will drive integrated systems as a commercial opportunity.

According to a BSIA survey, only 14% of premises in the UK have security systems, which suggests there is a huge commercial opportunity for the industry. The attitudes of the police and insurance companies are key in driving that figure up. Due to the waste of police time chasing false alarms (98% of activations are false), some end users have lost confidence in the value of investing in security. If an end user wishes to be guaranteed a level 1 police response, adherence to BS8418 will be mandatory. And where the police go, the insurance industry is sure to follow. End users will find themselves motivated by financial (i.e. insurance) as well as security concerns to pursue the integrated solution route.

Standard Scope

BS8418 covers the design, positioning, configuration, performance, commissioning, operation and maintenance of remotely monitored and detector activated CCTV systems. This means that the standard only covers integrated systems. It also means that it is the system and not individual products or components that comply with the standard. For instance, it is not possible to purchase products that comply with BS8418.

A key purpose of adhering to the standard is to qualify for a Unique Reference Number (URN) which is issued by the local police authority to guarantee a level 1 police response. Without a URN, this level of police response is not guaranteed. It is this purpose that has led to the standard being stringent for the elimination of false alarms is a key police objective.

BS8418 Summary

Here is a bird’s eye view of some aspects of BS8418.

Field of View

The standard is adamant that camera and detector fields of view should match one another and be confined to within the site’s boundaries and not extend into public areas.


PIRs facing east or west must not be affected by the sun or from reflection and shadows. Only high-quality PIRs must be used to avoid false triggering. Cameras should not face directly into sun or light. However, there should be sufficient light (night and day) to illuminate the cameras’ fields of view.

System integrity

Each individual detector must be uniquely identifiable to the system

All cabling and detection devices should incorporate tamper protection.

Event verification

To ‘verify’ an event, the field of view should be set so that a 1.6m high human target fills at least 10% of picture height. To ‘recognise’ an intruder the target should fill a minimum of 50%. Fixed cameras are the recommended option for vulnerable areas (e.g. the entry/exit route) or a PTZ camera with its park position viewing the vulnerable area. If PTZ cameras are used in isolation, use should be made of presets so that the operator will observe each incident as though it were viewed by a static camera.


An audio challenge facility is recommended and required to guarantee level 1 police response. The audio challenge should be audible in all areas of detection.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

The installation of a backup UPS system should be considered. The system should have the ability to monitor and indicate video loss to the RVRC (Remote Video Response Centre). Ensure that the system has an alternative signalling path to indicate the failure of the main signalling path to the RVRC. The system should have a full connection and retry protocol Plan to ensure that the fully detailed event log-system history be retained and held at the protected site.

Unique Reference Number

To obtain a URN, installers of remotely monitored detector activated CCTV systems will need to comply with all of the following:

  • ACPO Security Systems Policy (Association of Chief Police Officers)
  • BS 8418 Installation and remote monitoring of detector activated CCTV systems – Code of Practice BS EN 50132-7: CCTV Application guidelines

(Please refer to BSI Website)