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Who is CAST/HOSDB? (Home Office Body Armor Standard for UK Police)

CAST (Center for Applied Science and Technology), also known as HOSDB (Home Office Scientific Development Branch), consists of researchers and engineers who research and develop technological solutions to fight crime. CAST works with various universities, academies and is in direct contact with the various industries that use body armor, including police, where they have developed on test standards for stab and bullet proof vests for the police in England since 1993. 

These standards, like NIJ, describe the methods and minimum requirements for bullet and stab proof vests against knives, spikes and bullets with focus on protecting the torso. 

Below are the standards that the Home Office has published and revised over time. 


Here came the first standard from Home Office that had focus on knives. In 1995 it was extended to include bullet proof vests as well. 


Major changes to the 1993 HOSDB standard, of which reminds a lot of the test methods used today, where the knife and spike are dropped from a certain height with different energies. The ballistic part was also changed significantly.


In 2003 HOSDB introduced the bullet proof level “HG1/A”, with a larger BFS against small arms.


Major changes to the 2003 standard and previous standards. The velocity on HG3 and RF2 was increased. Additionally they also added Quality testing (Manufacturer quality testing), which needs to ensure one better bullet and stab proof vest; and further more ballistic and stab proof inserts needed to be tested in the compliance test.


Home Office 2017, published in 2017, supersedes the above standards, and this standard has more focus on the end-user of bullet and stab proof vests.