We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience. If you continue, we'll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website. See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.

Featured news

Avoiding the pitfalls of the intruder alarm market

The intruder alarm sector is a complicated one at the best of times, with numerous changes in guidance and regulation coming into effect in recent years. Corporate enterprises that are in the market for a new alarm may find the process of purchasing the right system more challenging than most, as the requirements placed upon them by their insurer is likely to be stricter than with smaller businesses. However, it is important not to feel overwhelmed by these complexities as Aviva Risk Management Solutions (ARMS) is on hand to help corporates navigate their way to choosing the right intruder alarm.

What should big businesses consider when choosing an intruder alarm?

Intruder alarm systems together with their remote signalling systems are categorised using a grading system which runs from one to four, with those that fall within the higher groups being recommended to companies that are at increased risk of being targeted by criminals. As the potential weakest link, the nature of the signalling product used to connect the alarm to a remote monitoring centre also needs careful consideration. Premises which are at risk of a prolonged break in and/or where there are damage or safety concerns for staff, keyholders or the building itself, will generally be advised to opt for a grade three alarm system with grade four dual path signalling and in addition have police response - see below.

Most insurers will want to have their say on the type of intruder alarm which is fitted at a property. In order to decide which grade of alarm should be purchased, a thorough security risk assessment will first need to be carried out. This can help to identify the type of threat which is most likely to affect any given property, from opportunistic snatch-and-grab raids to prolonged intrusion and potential danger to the safety of the premises and staff.

Installers that are regulated by the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) or Security Systems and Alarm Inspections Board (SSAIB) are required to conduct such an assessment, but it is important to note that they cannot be expected to anticipate every aspect of a business's risk exposure. Consequently, companies should make sure they relay any information which they feel may be related to this process, whether or not it is asked for.

Another consideration is the future risk that a property could find itself under. There is often only a marginal cost increase to upgrade to higher specification equipment if the choice is made at the outset. It is therefore well worth mulling over paying more in the short term if there is a chance that different items, or those which have greater value, could be situated at the premises in the future. This can avoid a more substantial additional outlay if a higher grade system is later required.

ARMS will be able to offer guidance in any situation where businesses feel they are unsure about the correct grade of intruder alarm to select.

How important is it for intruder alarms to offer police response?

Where corporate enterprises are concerned, there is a good chance that the insurer will expect the intruder alarm to alert the police in the case of a break in. In such cases corporate enterprises have a number of issues to bear in mind.

As a result of high past volumes of false alarms, police have progressively put more and more stipulations in place governing whether or not they will respond to an alarm call, regardless of it being made by an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) or a member of the public.

Only intruder alarms which have a unique reference number (URN) will be eligible for routine police response and this can only be obtained if the equipment was fitted by an SSAIB or NSI approved installer and connected to an ARC that also meets the requirements of one of these bodies. In addition, the police will now only grant a URN to systems which are capable of providing a 'confirmed' activation, that is a second signal or piece of information indicating that a genuine intrusion, rather than false alarm, is likely.

The design of the intruder alarm therefore needs careful consideration to ensure that police will be able to respond to a break-in, i.e. that a 'confirmed' signal is received at the ARC either as, or very shortly after, an intrusion occurs.

In situations where a confirmed activation isn't generated, there will still be a need for a keyholder to attend the premises and investigate the cause. Companies therefore also need to pay careful attention to their arrangements for premises keyholding, to ensure that site security and the safety of those attending are maximised.

While the various requirements can at times seem overwhelming, it is important to remember that help is always at hand. ARMS will be able to offer guidance on any difficulties and ensure that businesses opt for the intruder alarm that suits them.

By simply registering an email address you can download a range of detailed intruder alarm guidance issued by the RISCAuthority - the UK insurers technical advice body. Visit