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CCTV is one of the main stays of a modern security system. Its primary focus is to act as a verification system for other security measures

Last Updated 12 November 2020


CCTV is often one of the main stays of a modern security system. Its primary focus is to act as a detection and verification system for other security measures. CCTV can be a single or combination of systems and technologies to form the overall security solution, some of these may include:

  • visible band or infrared CCTV
  • thermal imaging
  • video analytics

While CCTV, thermal imagers or video analytics are useful technology, all these will rely to some extent on the effectiveness of the control room and the security officer within.


CCTV is normally used to achieve one or more of the following:

  • detect an intruder within a reasonable time frame
  • verify an alarm from a Perimeter Intruder Detection System (PIDS)
  • provide support to a guard or security force
  • provide evidence suitable for use in court

Most electronic detection systems assured by CPNI work on the five minute rule. This assumes that each part of a perimeter or sensitive asset is viewed by a guard once every five minutes. This limits the potential time for an attack and forces an attacker to carry out rapid attack, therefore being more likely to trigger an electronic detection system.

Thermal Imaging

Thermal imagers can be used as part of a CCTV system, giving longer operational ranges than traditional visible and infrared illuminated cameras. Thermal imagers use the heat radiated from the object, as opposed to the light reflected from its surface, to form an image.  As a result, thermal imagers can be used to determine the class (vehicle, person, animal) of a target. It will not allow an operator to identify the person, or the colour of a vehicle.

Testing and commissioning of a thermal imager cannot be done with a standard CCTV test target such as Rotakin. CPNI have, therefore, developed a test target to mirror Rotakin which is visible to and gives good contrast in, the thermal band. See Thermakin Standard for plans to make this test target.

For further advice on thermal imagers see:

Surveillance thermal imagers for an overview of thermal imagers

Thermal Imager Guidance for in depth technical guidance

Video Analytics

CPNI assure video analytic systems around a number of scenarios. The CPNI video analytics test programme tests the following scenarios:

  • sterile zones
  • abandoned baggage
  • parked vehicles
  • doorway surveillance

The above scenarios are currently being offered under a manufacturer funded model in conjunction with the Building Research Establishment (BRE).

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