Alarm call from Norwich Union Risk Services

Article date: 8 June 2007

According to Norwich Union Risk Services (NURS), 25% of businesses may have inappropriate alarm systems*. 

Richard Underwood, property security specialist for Norwich Union Risk Services, says: "Opting for an alarm system from a supplier who is registered with the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) or the Security Systems Alarms Board (SSAIB) will help ensure businesses receive a thorough assessment of their needs, providing significant benefits to the business.

"These accredited suppliers are the sole providers of ‘Type A' alarms, as defined by strict criteria set by the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland. Such alarms are the only ones eligible for a unique reference number (URN), which in turn qualifies them for a police response via an alarm signal handled by a recognised alarm-receiving centre (ARC).

"'Type B' systems, most typically known as a 'bells only' alarm, are not however issued with a URN and police will not respond unless there is some kind of on site verification from the public, which in reality might be too late - rendering them as less effective.

"In addition to meeting police requirements for alarms that provide confirmed activations, newer systems also have to be designed to meet an appropriate grade of alarm, as defined in European standards (BSEN 50131). The grade is dependant on the level of the risk, which is based upon the type of intruder likely to target the premises. Risk is measured on a four-point scale from grade one, a low risk, to grade four, a high risk.
"Intruder alarms are an essential part of a business continuity plan and businesses must ensure that a security alarm is fit for purpose.

"The level of security undertaken to protect a premises will also affect an insurance policy and failure to check with an insurer that the appropriate grade of alarm is being installed  or that suitable alarm signalling and response measures are in place may lead to insurance cover being refused or made conditional upon expensive additional work being undertaken."


For further information, please contact:

Jo Brearley at Staniforth on 0161 919 8014/ 07973 143215 
Sally Leeman at Norwich Union on 01603 684225/ 07800 699670

Notes to editors:

*Data extracted from NURS risk assessments 2005/06 (over a two year period). Of 1500 businesses surveyed, 75% of businesses had some form of alarm signalling or other, whereas 25% of businesses had a "bells only" alarm. 

About Norwich Union Risk Services
Norwich Union Risk Services is the specialist risk management division of Norwich Union that is dedicated to helping UK businesses manage their risks in an effective way.

They achieve this through their national team of approximately 180 staff which includes:

  • Risk advisers and specialists - Who visit commercial properties across the UK to help identify risks and recommend dynamic and practical risk management solutions for Norwich Union's insured customers.
  • Safety consultants - Who provide expert health, safety and environmental training and consultancy services.

Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available on the Aviva internet press centre at

Back to top