BS8418 – surveillance standards that measure up to requirements

When businesses are looking to have a detector activated, monitored CCTV security system installed, they want to know that every aspect of its performance is going to meet their needs. BS8418 was developed for that very purpose, especially because compliant systems can be eligible for a ‘first response’ service from the police. Of course the problem comes when designers and installers of these systems work to standards but, when all’s said and done, don’t quite deliver a fully compliant, effective installation.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of meeting BS848 and how the implementation of these standards could increase operational satisfaction for thousands of customers and monitoring staff.

Rather than specifically being created with the end-user in mind, BS8418 started life as a set of best-practice recommendations in order to stop the high incidences of false alarms that were being reported by remote video response centres (RVRCs).

Now rolled out as an official standard, BS8418 has 2 primary purposes:

  1. To ensure that monitored and event-triggered monitored CCTV systems are well designed
  2. To ensure that monitored and event-triggered CCTV systems perform according to the users’ needs

While there are extensive benefits for owners, ultimately, compliance is actually tailored towards system design and management, guiding installers to make logical and practical decisions – which in turn helps with ongoing monitoring processes. Rather than setting out restrictive guidelines for components and design specifics, the standard has been developed to eliminate issues such as the system failing to trigger when needed, and bogus alarms that can result from badly thought-out installations and poor operation. Additionally, adherence to the standards should minimise reporting inconsistencies and event mismanagement.

Benefits of a BS8418 monitored camera security system

When suppliers work towards the compliance standards, the end-user will benefit from:

  • Reliable and effective security
  • A clear explanation and understanding of the system’s capabilities

When a camera surveillance system is implemented and designed properly, control room staff can provide a much better service, with their time focused on handling actual, real-time events, instead of being sidetracked by false issues created by insufficient systems.

Realising the potential

When the standard was first unveiled, it provided an additional opportunity for suppliers and customers to install a system that could in the future be granted ‘first response’ status by the Association of Chief Police Officers – who adjusted the ACPO Security Systems Policy to include this type of onsite security measure. However, for a monitored CCTV surveillance system to meet first response requirements, the design must include a facility for monitoring staff to issue a warning via a speaker, as per the latest iteration of the standard: BS8418:2010

This audio aspect allows control room personnel to tell the intruder that they’re trespassing on private property, are being monitored via onsite cameras, and should remove themselves from the area with immediate effect. In many cases, this warning is sufficient to persuade the offending party to leave – especially as many triggered events are an accidental breach, rather than a genuine incident. Details of the unauthorised entry can be logged on the reporting system, but require no further action.

Of course, if the audio challenge to leave is ineffective, the person needs to be removed from the protected site – so the designated keyholder is advised of the breach and asked to attend. With the RVRC operator being connected to the site by audio, there’s the additional benefit of being able to provide ‘back up’ once a responder is in attendance. Having someone watching the area, while simultaneously being able to communicate their observations, offers real peace of mind.

The best solution as standard

BS8418 has proved such a success that TI Security is incorporating many of its design requirements to ensure a better service and use of resources. While the standards hold a great deal of relevance for designers, installers and operators, knowledge of the best practice issues it outlines should also be taken on board by business owners looking to employ this kind of surveillance and monitoring solution.

The document itself isn’t as complicated as you may imagine, and offers plenty of highly valuable information, written in accessible and easy to understand language. This is because the guidelines are also fairly straightforward – we’re really just talking a standard CCTV system with your desired capabilities, complemented by motion detector devices, such as:

  • Passive infrared detectors
  • Dual technology detectors
  • Laser-based technology
  • Photoelectric beams
  • Buried detectors
  • Fence-mounted systems

The system offers a real advantage because it combines sophisticated technology with the personal experience and incident assessing capabilities of physical, albeit remote, operators.

What should you expect as the customer?

The specifics of how operators manage alarms and site monitoring are truly flexible with this type of camera surveillance security system, and response actions can also be defined according to business needs.

The specification, plus clear details of how the system will be designed and implemented (including the exact operational parameters it offers), should all be stated in the proposal/scope of work provided by the supplier. This document should evidence best practice and all considerations made to ensure that the system is effective and completely fit-for-purpose – this should include details of audio challenge functionality and quality, RVRC services and camera configurations.

In essence, this standard-compliant document should leave the user in no doubt as to the system’s capabilities and how triggered alarms will be dealt with – while also allowing them to suggest any potential changes that could be made based on their personal knowledge of the site.

The standard also requires these elements to be clearly defined and explained:

  • Commissioning/system testing
  • Documentation handover.
  • Setting and unsetting procedures to allow RVRC system management takeover when the site is unoccupied
  • Owner responsibilities
  • RVRC operating, monitoring and administrative procedures
  • Collection of annexed information, including technology, positioning and illumination

Working towards a BS8418 compliant system that marries CCTV surveillance with activity-triggered capabilities offers a fantastic, advanced solution for businesses that need to ensure their site is secure inside and outside of operational hours. One of the greatest benefits is the flexibility it offers, giving owners all the usual CCTV functionality, with the added reassurance of a monitored system, and site response, when it’s most needed.

Despite CCTV equipment not yet fully meeting the standards of BS8418, TI Security will match the design criteria of the standard as much as possible. TI Security is actively working towards full compliance with this standard and offering our clients many of the benefits of such a system.

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