Burglar Alarm Systems

There is no doubt that homes and other buildings are less likely to be broken into if they have a professionally fitted alarm system. Most burglars are on the lookout for easy pickings, so an alarm is a good deterrent.

Don't forget that an alarm is only a part of good security. Physical protection, including locks, lighting and 'good housekeeping' are also very important factors that all contribute to making your property an unattractive prospect for thieves.

How does an alarm work?

No matter how complex a system may be, it can always be broken down into the following basic components:

  • Detection - movement sensor, door contacts, pressure mat
  • Control - the 'brains of the system', control panel/keypad
    Signalling - internal sounder, external sounder, remote monitoring

Detection

Most alarm systems have at least two types of detection device. The most commonly used are:-

  • Magnetic contacts - which consist of a magnet fitted to the opening part of a door or window and a switch fitted to the frame. When the two parts are separated (when the door or window is opened) the alarm is activated.
  • Passive Infra-red Receivers - commonly referred to as PIRs, they are generally fitted into the corner of a room and look for changes in temperature, such as an intruder's body heat.

Control

This is where you switch the system on and off, usually by entering a security code. The control equipment monitors the detection devices, and if necessary activates the signalling device.

Signalling

  • Audible alarms - these comprise of a bell or siren fitted to the outside of a building to attract attention and frighten off intruders.
  • Monitored alarms - include a telephone connection to a 24 hour central monitoring station, whose operators can contact your keyholders or may be able to notify police if your alarm activates. An annual fee is charged for this service.

Alarm Company Vetting

If contacted by telephone, never reveal details of your security arrangements. Ensure that the installed alarm is fitted and maintained to British Standard specifications. Companies should offer a 24 hour service with a guaranteed 4 hour response to emergency call-outs. A good burglar alarm fitted by a reputable company shouldn’t cost you more than £500.00.

Further information on obtaining a police monitored alarm can be achieved through contacting either NSI 0845 0063003 or SSAIB 0191 296 3242 who can give details of alarm companies in the local area.  It is advisable to obtain a quote from at least three alarm companies and to check that the company is police compliant upon obtaining the quote.

Cleveland Police is unable to recommend an alarm company but can confirm whether a company is compliant.  

Security Systems Management (Alarms Administration)

Alarms Administration is part of the Central Business Unit and is situated within Cleveland Police Headquarters. All Security System Companies requiring a police response to their systems installed within the police area, must be registered with Cleveland Police Alarms Administration.

Police Response systems are monitored to ensure that they conform to the ACPO Policy especially in respect of false alarms. The Policy can be downloaded below:

ACPO Security Systems Policy.

British standards to look for:

BS EN 50131 & PD6662 for wired systems

BS 6799 for wire free systems