CAST resources for the crime prevention industry

Information from the Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST), including the database of police protective standards.

Use of tasers figures

For the latest statistics on police use of tasers across England and Wales see the police use of taser statistics collection.

Police protective equipment database

We produce a searchable database of police protective equipment so the police can find the most up-to-date information on body armour and standards.

Testing CCTV image quality

We have developed a range of tests to assist system installers and owners to robustly assess the performance of their CCTV systems. The tests are designed to be simple to use and produce results that are easy for a non-technical person to understand.

This test system helps with common problems like video compression, changeable viewing resolution and variable transmission bit rate/bandwidth, which can all result in the unpredictable quality of your digital CCTV images.

What is in the test system?

The kit is a set of test images and instructions about how to produce and use them. It includes tests for human identification, vehicle registration number legibility, colour rendition and resolution.

Human identification test

The purpose of this test is to help system commissioners and auditors to demonstrate the CCTV system under review is capable of providing images that can be identified.

The test consists of 12 human faces. A random selection is presented to the camera at an appropriate distance. An operator attempts to match the presented face to a reference list. The operator’s accuracy is then scored and used to evaluate the capability of the CCTV system to record identifiable images at this distance.

Vehicle registration number (VRN) legibility test

The purpose of this test is to evaluate whether a CCTV system can provide images suitable for reading a VRN. The test kit specifies 9 segments of VRN characters. A random selection of these segments is shown to the camera at an appropriate distance. An operator attempts to match the presented VRN to a reference list and their accuracy is scored.

Colour rendition test

This test will help to establish whether a CCTV system can provide images with reasonably accurate colour information. The test kit includes a basic colour chart, which is presented towards the camera at a suitable distance. The operator can then verify the level of match between the colours on a reference chart and the colours seen through the imaging system.

Other tests

Other test targets included in the system are A3 sized versions of the legacy Rotakin test pattern, which allows system testers to use the updated guidance and methods to establish system acuity.

Request a copy of the test targets

The electronic versions and system test procedures are available to download using the instructions in the following documents. They can be found at:

2016 CCTV test targets

instructions for how to use this download facility can be found in

Method for accessing CCTV target images on dropbox (PDF, 155KB, 1 page)

alternatively you can request a hard copy of the files on CD (free of charge) by contacting:

Central enquiries 01980 950000 (option 1)

Published 26 March 2013
Last updated 26 August 2016 + show all updates
  1. Updated information on testing CCTV image quality.

  2. First published.