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This month Simon Banks talks to Mark Taylor, General Manager of ECHO (Electronic Call Handling Operations). ECHO is working with the private and public security sectors to automate the transmission of alarm signalling to the blue light services.

What are the latest developments in the implementation of ECHO?

Earlier this year the first two Police Forces, the Metropolitan Police Service and Essex Police, issued a joint notice that they would be accepting confirmed alarm signals from their approved ARCs via ECHO from 1st October 2021. I am delighted to announce that both Police Forces were ready to accept signals from this date and many approved ARCs are now ECHO-connected to the Police. Over 100,000 Intruder and Hold-up Alarm Systems with police URNs are now being served by ECHO in the London Metropolitan and Essex Police areas. These forces are ECHO-connected via more than 20 ARCs who have completed ECHO on‐boarding and thorough systems testing. This included declaring URN counts and having their connection validated by each ECHO-connected Police Force. Over two-thirds of all Intruder and Hold-up Alarm Systems registered to the Metropolitan Police, are now being received via ECHO.

Which ARCs are ECHO connected?

Banham Security has been in the vanguard of this technology, having been involved with ECHO throughout early testing with the Police command and control rooms, and was the first ECHO-connected ARC, a landmark achievement. Since then, the number of ARCs who are now ECHO‐connected and validated by the Met and/or Essex Police has increased to more than 20. There is also a growing number currently engaged in testing and on‐boarding, having registered online with ECHO. For the latest status of ECHO-connected ARCs and Police Forces, please visit the website.

Can you explain the role of the ECHO Platform Integrators?

A key part of developing what we now know as ECHO was involving Integrators in developing the concept and delivering the necessary connectivity. Integrators with immense experience in alarm signalling were a natural choice and have provided connectivity from ARCs’ Alarm Management Systems (AMS) to ECHO, for signals to be processed and transferred directly to the despatch desks in Police control rooms. The ECHO Platform Integrators, including CSL, have played a key role in supporting the ARC configuration for signal transfer to ECHO and the return of confirmation messages. They have also provided support, communication, and education to their customers for the benefit of the wider security industry.

What value does ECHO offer Installers?

ECHO is transforming Intruder and Hold-up Alarm signal handling to the Police when “every second counts”. It is at the forefront of initiatives to deter crime and facilitate a faster Police response. Where Police Forces are ECHO-connected this is a huge benefit to Installers, as they can now provide their customers with a complete Police response alarm solution. Superseding the traditional telephone communication between ARCs and Police Control Rooms, ECHO improves police response times by 1-4 minutes, enabling the more efficient and effective deployment of Police resources to alarmed premises. For approved installers, ECHO is a clear tangible commercial and performance benefit. When received in Police control rooms via ECHO, alarm signals are posted directly to Police dispatch desks without further question. The ECHO-routed signal is effectively prioritised as it jumps a verification process that would otherwise be required, saving time in police response. Access to ECHO is only available to approved installers who are recognised by the Police, who install and maintain approved systems monitored 24/7 by approved ARCs. Approved security system designs and installations differentiate themselves from other solutions which rely on the inevitably slower traditional manual 999 services.

YOU SAID IT!

"Innovative and client-focused company, with a top-class monitoring solution to suit every system
and budget. Tech support is among the best in the industry for knowledge and helpfulness."
Robert Quinlan (Hall Alarms) – Google Review – 27 August

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