We all wish to feel safe and secure in our homes. To be a victim of housebreaking is still a relatively rare occurrence however for those who have been a victim it can sometimes have a life changing effect. Working along with its partners Neighbourhood Watch Scotland aim to provide the best information to increase the safety and security of your home and valued belongings.
Having spent several years working with the British Security Industry Association it is clear that the variety of alarms and their fitting is a complex subject.
As a starting point the installation should meet with British Standard PD6662. This covers both hard-wired and wire-free systems. Although more expensive than many DIY packages on the market, they are more reliable and conform to the Police Scotland Security Systems Policy, which grades police response to alarm activations according to the type of alarm installed. This policy was developed as a result of the number of false alarm calls caused by equipment and communication errors. The policy defines 2 type of alarms with the relevant police response.
Type A – (Remote Signalling Alarms including alarms linked to approved and accredited Alarm Central Monitoring Centres.) These must be maintained and used in accordance with British Standards PD6662. Such alarms will be registered with the Police and identified by a unique reference number (URN) for intruder alarm response and a URN for hold up alarm (personal attack alarm) response. Type A systems are prioritised for immediate Police response subject to available resources at time of the incident, however such a response will be conditional upon the number of previous false activations for this system.
Type B –( Audible only and Hybrid Alarms including bells – only and automatic dialling alarms, as well as alarms from non-compliant companies and non-compliant alarm central monitoring Centres.) A unique reference number (URN) will not be issued for these systems. To obtain Police attendance, in addition to their activation Type B alarms will also require some additional indication that an offence is in progress e.g. from a witness at the scene.
In identifying a compliant company installing type A alarms you should consider the following:
- Before disclosing personal security details have you checked the address and credentials of the company and seen proof of the identity from the representative.
- Is the company subject of an independent inspection process accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS). Currently these are the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) and the Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB) – These organisations publish lists of certified companies.
- Is the installation of an alarm a requirement of my insurance company and if so, is the company acceptable to my insurer. (There may also be a discount on insurance premiums)
- Have you sought written quotations from at least 2 separate approved alarm installers.
- Does the quotation specify installation standards, terms of maintenance, monitoring contracts and 24 hour call-out service etc.
- Alarm systems should have 2 keyholders, trained to operate the alarm, contactable and able to attend activations within 20 minutes. The above advice is good practice and ultimately you will decide on what system or collective security measures best suits you, your family and your home.
- An alarm also offers a visual external deterrent to your home and should be considered as part of a package of security measures that in the first instance make best use of the existing security provided by your home.
General Home Security Tips
- Do not leave keys or ID documents within easy reach of doors, letterboxes and windows
- Close and lock all doors and windows. If you have multi-locking door handles, lift the handle, lock it with the key and remove it – LIFT – LOCK – REMOVE. Put the key in a safe place, out of sight, in case of fire. For added security see the article on Patlock below.
- Lock garages and sheds so garden tools and ladders cannot be used to break into your home.
- Keep side gates locked and wheelie bins stored behind them.
- Use internal timer switches linked to lights and radio so that it appears someone is at home
- Install a Security Alarm system
- Install low intensity dusk to dawn lighting to increase external visibility around your home
- Keep front boundaries low to remove hiding places and rear boundaries high to restrict access
- Invest in a fireproof safe for valuables /sentimental items and securely fix to a solid surface
- Photograph, list and consider marking valuable items.
- Ensure your Insurance policy is valid and up to date