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Latest UK CCTV regulations could obsolete legacy systems

Guide Security Services : 31 October, 2008  (Technical Article)
Introduction of BS 8418:2003 could signal the end of police response to non-conforming systems warns GSS
Guide Security Services is warning that the effective security of many businesses could be compromised by the introduction of new regulations that come into force at midnight, Friday October 31st.

The formal enforcement of British Standard 8418 (BS 8418:2003 Installation and remote monitoring of detector activated CCTV systems — Code of practice) will finally replace ad-hoc and unofficial arrangements that have existed between different police forces and security providers for 'legacy' CCTV systems which enjoyed a police response but were not installed in accordance with the standard.

The regulations apply to monitored CCTV systems that routinely contact the police to deal with criminal incidents. From November 1st these will need to meet stringent BS8418 standards or else they will be refused a unique police reference number (URN).

Without a URN a business, or its security provider, will be denied official police recognition.

If not officially recognised the implications include an increased risk of errors and delays occurring when the police are called to a serious incident or, ultimately, no police response at all.

The potential consequences of this include the reduced likelihood of arrests and the chance that more criminal activity will be perpetrated before the police arrive on the scene. Further, according to commercial insurers, some businesses might find that their cover is invalidated if they fail to comply with the new regulations.

In June The Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) reported that 98% of the so called 'legacy' CCTV systems, that will need to meet BS8418, remained non-compliant.

GSS, the first security consultants in the UK to be awarded the BS8418 accreditation, welcome the tightening of the legislation but are concerned at the apparent lack of awareness regarding the new rules within the business community.

Edward Cusack, Managing Director of GSS, said:

"We welcome the enforcement of the regulations. It should help drive forward the overall quality of security provided by the industry."

"However, businesses with non-complaint legacy systems need to be aware of the potential ramifications. It's possible that despite heavy investment in monitored CCTV protection, some businesses could find their systems do not have the level of security necessary to elicit an effective police response come November. They could also face potentially serious financial implications of lapsed insurance cover if their CCTV systems are deemed non-compliant."

With regard to the number of businesses across the UK that may miss the compliance deadline Mr Cusack said: "It is almost impossible to calculate the numbers of systems affected but what we can be sure about is that many companies could be caught out by this situation. The sooner businesses mobilise themselves and address this issue the better."

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