Editor, IFSEC Global

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James Moore is the Editor of IFSEC Global, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry. James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Global, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
November 5, 2020

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The Video Surveillance Report 2021

Alarm systems

Industry comes together to highlight benefits of compliant security systems to consumers

The UK’s Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (PCPI) has put together advice for consumers to assist with the selection of suitable security systems, stressing the importance of using a reputable and independently approved alarm company.

PCPI-Alarm-20With research suggesting that burglars and wrongdoers are put off by more professional installed alarm systems, a security system forms an essential tool in the fight against crime.

However, when investing in a security system, either for a home or business, consumers can become unsure of what exactly they should be looking for. How do they know they are choosing the right system?

The advice compiled by Police Crime Prevention Initiatives is set to help. Within the guidance, PCPI highlights the need for greater awareness of using independently approved companies by the sector’s inspectorate bodies – SSAIB and NSI. The advice also covers the two main types of security systems, noting the key differences between audible and monitored alarms and how they are treated differently by the police.

A key point to note is the police will only attend an alarm signal from a monitored alarm as long as the system complies with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Security Systems Policy, which details how the system is installed, monitored and maintained. It also requires security companies providing this service to be approved by an Independent Inspectorate Body and registered with the local police force.

Both the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) and Security Systems & Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB) Inspectorates have search functions on their websites to assist in checking out if a security company installing alarms is genuinely approved.

Ken Meanwell, Compliance Manager, Police Crime Prevention Initiatives, advises: “Compliant security systems and reputable installation companies and ARCs are essential to ensure that you will get the appropriate response to an alarm activation. If the security system is not compliant there will not be an immediate police response, something which could be vital if someone is in immediate danger or property is being stolen.

“It is never advisable to deal with cold callers or telesales enquiries, and you should always avoid doing doorstep or telephone business. Whilst traders who call at your door can be honest and genuine, some are not and can be extremely persuasive. Examples of bad practices associated with cold-calling and door-step selling include pressure selling, waiving your rights to a cooling off period, unclear contracts, over-priced security systems and unduly raising the fear of crime.

“The British Security Industry Association has some top tips on their website around things you should know and ask an alarm provider when updating your security system.

“Having a security system, certified by one of the accredited independent Inspectorate Bodies will ensure you have a reliable and well maintained system that meets relevant British and European standards and which could result in lower insurance premiums.”

BSIA’s Director of Technical Services, Dave Wilkinson, said: “As the voice of the professional security industry, we recognise the added value our member companies bring to compliant security systems. In such challenging times, it has never been more important for consumers to rely on professional companies to deliver high quality security systems and services. Working in partnership with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and other representative industry bodies provides peace of mind and quality assurance to the public and provides a true differentiator between compliant and non-compliant security systems.”

SSAIB chief executive Alex Carmichael commented: “It’s surprising that the benefits of third-party certification aren’t more commonly recognised – as they can reassure customers that registered firms are working to the very highest of standards.

“Through participation in standards development at national and European level, certification bodies – such as SSAIB – help to shape the nation’s security and safety standards, therefore we are able to inform others of standard issues that might impact upon service providers and end-users as well.

“Here at SSAIB, we continue to review the range of schemes we offer to ensure that they meet the needs of both the marketplace and registered firms.

“In addition, by using a third-party certificated provider, this will satisfy insurers that all reasonable precautions have been taken to mitigate risk and demonstrate that enough sufficient steps have been taken to prevent it.”

NSI Chief Executive Richard Jenkins added: “In responding to alarms, speed is of the essence – it can be a matter of life and death. The police recognise approved alarms and hold details on file, so that when an approved monitored alarm is triggered they are able to react and attend the scene significantly more quickly.

“Approved installers are subject to an ongoing inspection regime whereby they are required to demonstrate their technical competence and professionalism at least annually, or lose their approval. It’s far more than a one-off assessment. Anybody can check-out installers’ credentials at the Inspectorates’ websites. The key point is if the need is for automatic police response to an alarm it’s essential to deal with an approved installer who can ensure 24/7 alarm monitoring by an approved Alarm Receiving Centre.”

Find out more information from the Police Crime Prevention Initiatives.

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