29 August 2017


This month Simon Banks talks to David Mair, Metropolitan Police – Manager Security Systems Unit and NPCC Security Systems Group Technical Representative. David is a regular contributor to the industry and most recently spoke at the NSI Summit.

Are the Police downgrading their responses accordingly e.g. bicycle theft and if so, will the industry ultimately see a reduced response to intruder alarms?

Individual police forces have questioned the value of responding to intruder alarms in the past and the question will arise in the future. Studies have been carried out and the result has been to remain as is. I believe there is no intention to remove or reduce the response. The best course of action is to continue working with the industry as we are to make security systems more reliable.

The ACPO policy had a dramatic effect on reducing false alarms when introduced in 1996. What will be the catalyst for the next major sea change?

Personally I would like the upcoming 20th anniversary of the introduction of confirmation to be the next milestone. By 2022 we could be looking at a requirement for all systems to be confirmed. That would give the industry 5 years to upgrade systems that are currently traditional unconfirmed systems. The result should see a further reduction in false alarms. Another major change will be the introduction of electronic call handling. NPCC Policy has set a date of 2020 for all calls to be passed electronically. This would result in an average time saving of 120 seconds per call. Other benefits include the elimination of human error which has been an issue in the past, with Hatton Garden being the most notable example!

Do the Police welcome the introduction of PD6669: 2017 Guidance for the Provision of Alarm Transmission Systems (ATS) for Security Systems in the UK?

It is a consistent approach to take the core of the LPS1277 document, add other guidance material and produce a BSI standard. As a stakeholder we support the process of producing industry requirements and guidance documents within the BSI environment. However I have the impression that the document has not, as yet, got the full backing of the industry.

How could the dynamic of Insurers and Police working together be improved for alarm systems – specifically to help Installers and end-users?

We need to work together to ensure that alarm calls from reliable, well designed systems can be processed more quickly to improve response times and reduce errors. Insurers are crucial in encouraging Installers to review system design and we are starting to have regular meetings to discuss this.

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