09 July 2021


This month Simon Banks talks to Ken Meanwell, Compliance Manager at the UK's Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (PCPI). They seek to achieve sustainable reductions in crime through design and other approaches to help people live in a safer society.

How have the last 18 months of the Covid environment impacted the Police?

The first Covid lockdown saw Police URN applications drop significantly, however since October 2020 we have noticed a sharp increase. The NPCC (National Police Chiefs’ Council) believe that the increase has been influenced by multiple factors including the catch-up from the first Covid lockdown, increased awareness of crime at both homes and businesses and end-users having more time to reassess their security needs. Interestingly, applications do not just favour urban environments and we have seen increases in rural communities as well. In part, this could be due to recent investments in rural 4G connectivity and the general move away from PSTN to Radio technologies. This is also encouraging for the ECHO (Electronic Call Handling Operations) initiative that is beginning to gather pace. With more and more URNs being provided, it is important that police forces across the country utilise the latest technology to improve their response times. ECHO will mean police responses could be up to 3 times quicker. In addition, police force control rooms will now be tougher on requests for a response from non-compliant alarm systems reported via the 999 or 101 networks. This would mean where end-users dial 999 after a smartphone alert may be refused or receive a downgraded response.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the initiatives you are involved with?

Possibly our best-known initiative is the highly successful Secured by Design (SBD), a product-based accreditation scheme – the Police Preferred Specification – that provides a recognised standard for all security products that can deter and reduce crime. We have recently introduced an SBD Standard for intruder alarms which builds on police and industry knowledge and expertise to produce a new, enhanced alarm standard that will provide a high-quality alarm system with the risk of false calls reduced.

Personally, I am involved in two initiatives. The first is to provide the secretariat for the NPCC’s Security Systems Group (SSG). Working with the private security industry and the alarm inspectorate bodies, we have reduced the number of false calls to the police by over 1 million since we began administering the scheme. The second initiative is the Community and Railway Safety Accreditation Schemes (CSAS and RSAS). These schemes provide an opportunity for organisations that provide community safety and security services to enter into a formal agreement with their local Chief Officer, allowing accredited employees to be granted limited but targeted powers for them to undertake their role more effectively.

Manufacturers are currently facing a global component shortage. What advice has PCPI offered? 

A shortage of components due to the Covid-19 pandemic is a major cause of concern for the fire and security industry. Hopefully, this will improve as worldwide production and transportation recovers in the months ahead. In the meantime, product supply to the sector is vital if we are to protect lives and property. If premises are without the correct level of protection for either fire or security, this may result in serious consequences.

PCPI and the NPCC SSG would be grateful for, and would encourage prioritisation to the manufacturers of fire and security equipment. It is hoped that the most critical premises will receive alarm products to avoid any loss of life, damage to property and unnecessary risk exposure of insured losses. 


“The phasing out of PSTN is ongoing and CSL equipment is our product of choice for bringing
existing systems into line with IP communication upgrades.”

BCS Security Solutions Ltd – LinkedIn – 6th March

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