Alarm systems are a great deterrent against burglars and unwanted criminal activity. Systems with police response provide further security by ensuring the fastest possible response time in the event of a security breach.
However, 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 and your current security level.
There are two types of alarms
There are two main types of intruder alarms - 'audible only' and 'remotely monitored' - both will act as visual deterrent against criminals, but what happens once they have been activated will differ depending on the alarm type and the procedures set in place.
Remotely Monitored Alarms (Type A)
Remotely monitored alarms are connected via the internet to a remote monitoring station where a team of security professionals will be notified upon alarm activation. Once notified, the security team will access the situation and respond by:
- Contacting the police if the alarm has been confirmed and criminal activity has been verified
- Contacting a nominated keyholder
- Contacting a pre-arranged keyholder service
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.
Remote alarms will only qualify police response if they are in accordance with industry standards (NSI/SSAIB), installed by an accredited security company such as Sygma and are maintained and used in accordance with BS 4737, BS 7042 or BS 6799 Class VI.
Alarms which meet these requirements will be registered with the police however alarms will not be directly connected to the station. Alarms will be provided with a Police Unique Reference (URN) and the police will be notified once the alarm has been confirmed by an Alarm Receiving Center (ARC).
False alarms and police response times
Police statistics show that in recent years over 92% of all alarm activations nationally were false alarm calls, caused by user error or faulty equipment. In order to redress the balance in favour of genuine alarm calls, in addition to the use of Alarm Receiving Center, the police have adopted the 'ACPO Unified Intruder Alarm Policy'. ACPO reviews police response policy every 5 years to reduce the number of false alarms attended by the police.
Police response will be subject to available police resources as well as your current police response level. Determined by your local police station, your response level is conditional upon the number of previous false alarms within any 12-month period. Too many false alarms will result in lower priority police attendance, or total withdrawal of response. There are three levels of response determined by the ACPOS policy:
All alarms start on level 1 which is the highest priority. Reduced to level 2 if police attend 3 false alarms within a 12-months period.
If lowered to level 2, police response will be 'Desirable but dependent on resources'. In order for level one to be reinstated, alarms must be recertified and remain free of false alarms for 3-months. If a further two false alarms occur after being lowered to level 2, the alarm will be lowered to level 3.
Police response will be withdrawn at level 3 meaning only witnessed offences by a keyholder will be attended. Insurance cover may increase if placed within level three.
Bells Only Audible Alarms (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(URN) will not be issued for these systems meaning that police will only attend if an offence has been witnessed by a key holder.
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.
How we can help
Sygma are NSI Gold approved installers and follows all guidelines set out by Association of Chief Police Officers(ACPO). An URN is obtained for all new systems and we can assist in the design and implementation of new commercial security systems with police response. For further information on how we can help to protect your property and ensure that insurance requirements are met, please contact us here.