If you already have, or are thinking about installing an alarm system, you really need to know how the police response to alarm activations varies according to the type of alarm you install.
Police statistics show that in recent years over 92% of all alarm activations nationally were false alarm calls, caused by user error, faulty equipment or communication.
All new intruder alarm systems are required to be installed with confirmed technology in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, whilst in Scotland it is only recommended to do so and is not mandatory.
The police have now adopted the ‘ACPO Unified Intruder Alarm Policy', in order to redress the balance in favour of genuine alarm calls.
Two types of alarms are defined, together with the relevant police security alarm response UK:-
Type A - Remote Signalling Alarms includes intruder alarms terminating at Approved Central Monitoring Stations. They must be maintained and used in accordance with British Standard 4737, BS 7042 (high security systems) or BS 6799 Class VI (wire-free alarms).
These alarms will be registered with the police and identified by a unique reference number (URN) and can include personal attack alarms.
The police security alarm response to activation of the above alarms will be based on the assumption that an offence is taking place, but subject to attending competing urgent calls and available police resources.
Such a response will also be conditional upon the number of your previous false activations in any 12 month period, when the current activation may receive a lower priority police attendance, or total withdrawal of response, as follows:-
There are three levels of response determined by the ACPOS policy:
If there are four false calls in a twelve-month period, response is reduced to Level Two.
To return to Level One, the system problem must be rectified and remain false alarm free for three months.
Where a further three false calls occur in the same twelve month period, Level Three occurs.
Type B - Audible Only and Hybrid Alarms includes bells-only and automatic dialling alarms, as well as alarms from non-compliant companies and non-compliant central monitoring stations. Unique reference numbers will not be issued for these systems.
So to obtain police attendance when activated, Type B alarms will also require some proof that an criminal offence is in progress, e.g. a report from someone witnessing a break in.
Current Police policies require that you can provide two keyholders who have been trained to operate your burglar alarm, are telephone subscribers, able to attend the premises at any time, have access to the whole of the premises and can attend within 20 minutes.