What is a Monitored Intruder Alarm?

A monitored intruder alarm system is an alarm system that is linked to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), by telephone line (PSTN), mobile network (GSM/GPRS), via broadband (IP), or similar. These can be either on their own, or in a combination of two of the above, or even three.

Read our monitored intruder alarm FAQs below or contact us to find out more.

Frequently Asked Questions

You need one, primarily because your insurers believe your risk is sufficient to justify this enhanced security system. However, if your alarm goes off, it is probably very sensible to use a monitoring service to alert you or your keyholders to the activation.
The Grading structure was introduced as part of a Europe-wide harmonisation of the specification and installation of Intruder Alarms. This is the standard EN50131. There are essentially four Grades. Below are the Grade types and some examples:

Grade 1 - Low risk, such as a rural village house

Grade 2 - Low/medium risk, such as a rural town shop

Grade 3 - Medium/high risk, such as a town off-license

Grade 4 - High risk, such as an inner-city jewellers
Yes they do, but because of local differences, care must be taken when designing a system, especially in terms of who is going to respond to an activation. The UK is unusual in that our Police attend alarm activations, as opposed to a private security firm. We have to ensure that we also abide by the Police requirements if we want their response service.
Your security company is obliged to carry out a Security Risk Assessment. This Risk Assessment will take into account the Area, Building and Contents (ABC). We will agree with you where the ‘hotspots’ are, in terms of risk, and suggest the correct Grade of system. Your insurers may require confirmation and a copy of this Risk Assessment. Your insurers may state what Grade they want for your system.
Yes, typically the costs of both the installation and the ongoing maintenance charges will be more, the higher up the grading structure you are.
This is where it gets tricky! Although you need a system that complies with EN50131, in England and Wales, we also need it to comply with the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) rules (if we want a Police response). BS8243 essentially dictates how alarms should be set, unset and how many false alarms you can have before the Police downgrade or withdraw their service.
The Police rightly recognise that the primary cause of false alarms is due to user errors, when setting or unsetting the system. Essentially, we are not allowed to set or unset a system by using a code any more. We can use special fobs, radio transmitters, locks or even an Alarm Receiving Centre to set a system, but not a code.
This is complex - the Police want verification from the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) that each alarm activation was a genuine call and not a false alarm. We are given 3 options:

1. Video verification - This means that the ARC would be able to view the alarmed areas remotely using cameras. This is an expensive option and rarely employed.

2. Audio verification - This means that each alarmed premises would have microphones installed, and an operator at the ARC would listen in to the site, to see if they could hear sounds associated with a break-in. Suffice to say that this is very subjective and we would not recommend this solution.

3. Sequential verification - Basically, this means two different detectors triggering one after the other. The first activation would go through to the ARC. This is an ‘unconfirmed’ alarm activation and they would just call the keyholders. If a second detector triggered within a pre-determined time frame, a second ‘confirmed’ signal would be sent through to the ARC. They would call the keyholder again and also call the Police.
There are now only two levels of response:

Level 1 - Immediate response

Level 3 - No response at all. Typically, (and this will change to a lower and lower threshold over time), most Police forces will give three ‘lives’ for Intruder alarms and two for Panic Alarms.
Yes. If you had an older system without sequential verification, you will have to upgrade it if you want Police response back. There is a three month period when you have lost your Police response, before you can have it back again. This will have a major effect on your insurance cover, and needs to be considered.
Digital Communicator (Digicom) - These devices are able to send a digital signal, via a telephone line to a predetermined telephone number belonging to an ARC. They rely entirely on the integrity of the telephone line. If the telephone line is cut, then a tamper alarm will go off at the alarm control panel, but the ARC will not be aware.

DualCom - This hardware was created to provide two signal paths. This means that if the telephone line is cut or lost, the system can send out a second signal via the mobile network. If the mobile phone unit is attacked, then a second signal will be sent and the Police called. This technology is referred to as Dual-Path Technology.

WebWay - There are other products for broadband available, and there are other manufacturers of similar equipment. Allcooper choose to use the WebWayOne range of products. We have a great relationship with them and think their products are innovative, cost-effective and reliable.
Brilliant question. You could have an equal or higher level of monitoring to your intruder alarm grade. Then you will require dual-path monitoring - this should be confirmed by your insurance company.
Before EN50131, we essentially recommended Grade 2 Alarm equipment with dual path equipment. One of the requirements of a Grade 3 movement sensor is an ability to detect if it has been covered up or masked. In over 30 years of installing intruder alarms, we have only come across this situation once or twice. Again, it depends on the Risk Assessment, but for most situations a Grade 2 Alarm system with a Grade 3 WebWay dual-path device is a very effective solution.

WebWay have released a dual mobile device - it uses two separate mobile networks. It makes it very cost effective to install as we don’t need a telephone line or broadband line. These units have various options ranging from Dual 3G unit to an IP only unit. We will recommend the best unit for your particular circumstance.
As you have read, your keyholders could be in a very vulnerable position. They could be called out to an unconfirmed alarm. The burglars could still be in the premises, and as long as they don’t trigger a second device, the Police will never be called. The keyholder will arrive and turn the alarm off.

You need to carry out a Risk Assessment if one of your own staff is a keyholder. Your options are as follows:

1. No single person should attend. You should have multiple keyholders called and arrive at the same time.

2. Use a third party mobile security firm to attend with you (they don’t have keys).

3. Use a third party Keyholding service to attend on your behalf. They will deal with the alarm company, and carry out actions as per your request.

So who do I need to satisfy?

1. Your insurer - By having the correctly Graded system with a guaranteed Police response.

2. Your keyholders (Employers Liability) – Dual Path Signalling therefore the absolute assurance that a second signal will be triggered.

3. The Police - By ensuring you set and unset correctly, and by having minimal false alarms.

4. Yourself - By ensuring your property has the very best level of protection.
Well, it really depends on the Risk Assessment to establish the correct Grade of system. But as you can now understand, the ongoing management and resolution of false alarms, relationships with the Police, communication with the insurers and close contact with quality equipment manufacturers are critical. Allcooper really know their stuff when it comes to Intruder Alarms, and we hope you will appreciate that we have incredible knowledge and experience in this sector.
Absolutely. There is no point in buying a cheap or badly designed system that possibly doesn’t comply. All this will mean is that you could be off Police cover very quickly. You will have some stringent insurance excess requirement should you lose Police cover, and some inevitable business disruption and unnecessary aggravation.
It can be, but our expert approach at Allcooper means that we can take this problem away from you. Our commitment to only using the best equipment, the best engineers, and the best surveyors and with our large and capable back office staff, means we really can look after you.
When it comes to your overall home security, it’s really important not to let your guard down. There are lots of really simple things you can do to enhance your home security, without spending a single penny. Take a look at some of our top home security tips and burglar alarms advice here.

Help and support
 

If you need further advice on your systems and can’t find the answer here in our FAQ, please call our team on 01452 372626 or email service@allcooper.com