When it comes to protecting one’s home and loved ones, nothing is more crucial than a robust home security system. It’s the silent guardian that stands vigilant, providing peace of mind to homeowners across the UK. In an age where security technology has advanced leaps and bounds, many of us rely on these sophisticated systems to deter potential intruders and alert us to any unsanctioned entry.

Yet, amidst this reliance, a pressing question often surfaces, particularly for those contemplating the installation of a new burglar alarm or upgrading their current system: “Do burglar alarms notify the police?” It’s a query that sits at the forefront of security concerns, bearing significant weight on the decision-making process for homeowners.

The relationship between burglar alarms and police response is nuanced, involving several layers of technology, verification, and protocols. Understanding how this connection works could very well shape your approach to home security. It’s more than just about sounding a siren; it’s about ensuring that when an alarm is triggered, the right response follows swiftly.

In the next few paragraphs, we will delve into the intricacies of burglar alarms, explore the circumstances under which the police are notified, and unravel the fabric of home security that keeps our sanctuaries safe. Whether you’re nestled in a cosy nook of Cheadle or perched on the bustling streets of Stockport, this information stands to be your guide in navigating the landscape of burglar alarms and police notification.

Understanding Different Types of Burglar Alarms

Understanding the array of burglar alarms available is pivotal for homeowners and businesses aiming to enhance their security measures. While the ultimate goal of each system is to protect your property, they differ significantly in terms of functionality and police notification.

Bells-Only Alarms 

The traditional bells-only alarm is precisely what it sounds like: once triggered, it emits a loud siren designed to alert anyone nearby and deter the intruder. However, these systems do not automatically notify the police. The responsibility falls on neighbours or passers-by to take action upon hearing the alarm, which may not be the most reliable form of security, especially if the property is in a secluded area. These alarm systems are effective at deterring would-be criminals, or scaring off those who have made the decision to attempt a break-in.

That said, the external sounder is the most critical part of the system. It is essential that the burglar knows he has triggered an alarm, and this could be all that is needed to make him change his mind. 

Dialler Alarms 

Moving up in sophistication, we have the dialler alarm systems which, upon activation, dial a pre-set phone number – this could be your own, a friend’s, or a family member’s. Some advanced models offer the option to contact several numbers until someone responds. While this system enhances the likelihood of someone being alerted to an intrusion, it still does not guarantee direct police notification unless the contacted individual calls the authorities. The other drawback with this older technology is that it is a very slow method of communication. They can only call one number at a time until somebody answers.

Smart Home Security Systems 

The rise of smart technology has paved the way for smart home security systems, integrating seamlessly with our digitally connected lifestyles. These systems can send a notification to your smartphone or tablet when the alarm is triggered, allowing you to monitor your home remotely. However, the efficiency of this system heavily relies on the user’s proximity to their device and the ability to respond quickly. The Lightsys Plus system, fitted by Rotec Alarms, is an industry leader when it comes to rapid communication to multiple people. Upon activation of the external sounder, the Lightsys Plus will trigger as many smartphones as you like almost instantly. It will even override phones in silent mode if you choose this option in the app.

Smart home security systems are the go-to choice for most homeowners as they provide a happy medium between the bells only / dialler alarms, and fully-monitored alarms – which can be expensive and out of financial reach for many homeowners. Many find that the smart home security system, such as the Risco Lightsys 2 and Lightsys Plus that we offer, is more than enough for their home security needs. In addition to providing a visible deterrent for potential criminals, it provides an audible alert should someone attempt a break-in, as well as notify the homeowner. This is usually more than enough for most residential and small business owners.

Monitored Alarms 

Monitored alarms supposedly offer the highest level of security among the types discussed. These systems are connected to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), which monitors signals from your alarm system 24/7. In the event of an activation, the ARC will first attempt to verify the alarm; if a genuine emergency is confirmed, they can then contact the police on your behalf. These systems meet certain police response criteria and can ensure that authorities are notified in the event of a real incident.They can however be overkill and not cost-effective for most homeowners or small business owners. They can also be very slow due to the verification process. To trigger a police response, they will require two separate detectors to trigger. Then the Alarm Receiving Centre usually attempts to communicate with the homeowner to ensure it is not a false alarm. When you consider that the average burglar only takes a few minutes, the checking of facts can take the same amount of time as the burglary.  

Each type of alarm system serves a purpose and caters to different security needs and budgets. While bells-only and dialler alarms depend on the vigilance of homeowners and their connections, smart home systems offer a more tech-savvy approach. It is the monitored alarms, however, that provide the most comprehensive link to police support, ensuring a response once all the criteria is met. When considering a burglar alarm system, it’s important to weigh these features against your security priorities and choose the one that affords you the best protection and peace of mind. 

At Rotec Alarms we now believe that a self monitored smart alarm is the better option for various reasons.

  1. Notifications are instantaneous to all family members. You are not waiting for two devices to trigger, and then waiting for a phone call to check if it’s an accidental trigger.
  2. Because the alarm triggers instantly, and you know about it instantly, this changes the dynamic of the situation. You don’t need a third party to question you about the activation if you already know the house is empty. You can check your cameras and place a 999 call if you can see the crime in progress. This is much more effective and attracts a much faster response. 
  3. This is the most important point. Because the police are only notified when a crime is in progress, you don’t risk having the response withdrawn due to false alarms. This means we can provide a better alarm system for your property. We now alarm gardens and driveways, giving a full audible alarm and video verification before the burglar is anywhere near gaining entry. The result is that the burglar almost always gives up. There is no damage to your property and the alarm has done its job!

Monitored Alarms and Police Response

The criteria for police response to a monitored alarm system are stringent. In the UK, police will generally only respond to a personal attack signal, or a confirmed alarm activation. A confirmed alarm means that there must be evidence of an intrusion or another signal suggesting a genuine emergency, such as two different sensors being set off, which reduces the likelihood of a false alarm.

Once the ARC confirms the emergency, they will issue a Unique Reference Number (URN) and contact the local police force, prompting a police response. The URN is a critical element, as it informs the police that the alarm system and the ARC meet the necessary standards governed by UK police policy.

It’s important to note that police policies may change, and the response to alarm activations can also vary based on factors such as the type of alarm system installed, the history of false alarms from the location, and, in some cases, the specific ARC’s accreditation or police force policies.

For homeowners and businesses, monitored alarm systems have always represented peace of mind, knowing that any security breach will be swiftly and professionally addressed, and that in the event of a genuine emergency, response from the authorities can be expected. This level of security reassures property owners that they are not alone in their efforts to protect their premises and that the system in place is designed to bring rapid, authoritative help when it’s needed most.

Insurance companies still request these types of systems where very large policies are in place. At Rotec Alarms we believe this is a mistake. Just because monitored alarms have always been the preferred option doesn’t mean that this is the best thing today. Think about it this way. Do you want the police to be notified after somebody has smashed your expensive doors and triggered two internal detectors? There are millions of people with alarm systems who rarely switch them on, and the burglars know this. So they take a chance. They also give up very quickly once the alarm is sounding. Surely it makes sense to sound the alarm before the damage is done and the burglar is in.  

Smart Alarm Systems – The Happy Medium for Most Homeowners

For homeowners seeking a balance between high-end security and cost-effectiveness, smart alarm systems, such as the Risco Lightsys Plus offered by Rotec Alarms, present a compelling solution. Unlike the traditional bells-only alarm which may only serve to deter a burglar with its siren, or monitored systems which, though regarded as highly secure, may be financially out of reach for some residential properties, smart alarms strike an advantageous middle ground.

The Risco Lightsys Plus smart alarm system offers a myriad of benefits, seamlessly blending convenience with robust security measures. At the forefront, it still provides a powerful deterrent; a loud siren to alert neighbours and unsettle potential intruders. The key advantage over a simple bells-only system, however, is its ability to directly notify you, the homeowner, via smartphone notifications. This immediate alert enables you to swiftly assess the situation and take appropriate action, whether it’s contacting the police directly or alerting a neighbour to check on your property.

Opting for a smart alarm system like the Risco Lightsys Plus not only offers this significant advantage but also provides a cost-effective alternative to round-the-clock monitored systems. It eliminates the monthly fees associated with monitoring services, while still empowering you with direct control over your home security, no matter where you are. The combination of affordability, high-tech features, and increased control makes smart alarms an attractive proposition for those looking to upgrade their security without over-extending their budget. With such a system, peace of mind comes hand in hand with practicality, ensuring that homeowners can enjoy both security and savings.

False Alarms and Impact on Police Notification

False alarms are a significant concern in the realm of home security, particularly because they can place undue strain on police resources. When an alarm is mistakenly triggered—perhaps due to faulty equipment, incorrect installation, or user error—the impact extends beyond the immediate annoyance for homeowners and neighbours; it can lead to a wasteful deployment of police officers to a non-emergency situation. Frequent false alarms not only erode trust in alarm systems but also may result in slower police response times over time as authorities prioritise calls that are less likely to be false.

This is why regular maintenance of your security system is not just important—it’s essential. Proper upkeep ensures that your alarm is functioning as intended and reduces the chances of false activations. Routine checks by a professional can identify and rectify potential issues such as low battery warnings, sensor malfunctions, or outdated software before they cause problems.

Rotec Alarms recognises the importance of maintaining your security system to the highest standard. Regular servicing can keep it fine-tuned, much like you would with a car, to prevent avoidable false alarms. This attention to maintenance helps to preserve the integrity of your home security system and, by extension, ensures that the police are alerted only when there’s a genuine need for intervention. In doing so, homeowners play a part in helping the police maintain their focus on actual emergencies, contributing to more efficient use of community resources and better overall security for everyone.

Remember, a well-maintained alarm system not only protects your property, but it also upholds the credibility and reliability of the system in the eyes of the authorities, ensuring that when you need them most, the police will respond promptly. It’s about creating a safer environment — with fewer false alarms — where the real alerts are taken seriously every time.

DIY vs Professional Installation of Your Home Security System

The rise of do-it-yourself security products has certainly made protecting one’s home more accessible. However, when we weigh DIY security measures against professional installation services, several critical distinctions become apparent.

DIY Security Measures 

DIY systems are often appealing due to their lower upfront costs and the perception of ease of installation. Many of these systems are marketed as ‘plug and play,’ requiring minimal technical knowledge. They offer a degree of flexibility, as homeowners can choose where to place sensors and cameras based on their unique understanding of their home. The control is in the homeowner’s hands, from installation to daily operation, including self-monitoring through mobile apps.

However, the potential downsides of DIY security systems should not be overlooked. These can include improper installation, which could lead to vulnerabilities in the home’s security, and the absence of professional advice on strategic placement of the system components. Additionally, maintenance and troubleshooting are up to the homeowner, which could be daunting for some.

Professional Installation Services 

Professional installation services by companies like Rotec Alarms, on the other hand, bring expertise, convenience, and peace of mind to the process. Professional installers perform a thorough assessment of the property to ensure that all potential entry points are secured. They can identify the optimal locations for sensors and cameras, and install the system to the manufacturer’s specifications, ensuring maximum effectiveness and reliability.

Professionals also offer ongoing support and maintenance, which can be invaluable for troubleshooting or system updates. Plus, the installation may come with warranties or guarantees that DIY installations do not offer.

DIY Installation Conclusion 

While DIY systems certainly have their place in the market and can offer an initial layer of security, professional installation services carry the advantage of expertise and comprehensive coverage. For homeowners serious about safeguarding their homes and ensuring the fastest possible response in an emergency, investing in a professionally installed system with instant self monitoring is a sound decision. It’s not just about installing an alarm; it’s about creating a complete security solution tailored to your needs and backed by professionals.

The Role of Home Insurance Policies

Home insurance companies often view burglar alarms as a positive step towards risk mitigation. By installing an alarm system, homeowners demonstrate a proactive approach to securing their property, which can be seen as reducing the likelihood of a burglary and, consequently, a claim. It’s an additional layer of security that can act as both a deterrent and a means of swift incident response.

When taking out a home insurance policy, homeowners may be asked a variety of questions regarding their burglar alarm systems. Insurers may inquire about the type of alarm installed (bells-only, smart alarm, or monitored system), whether it’s professionally installed and maintained, and if it’s certified by an approved organisation, such as the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB). They might also ask if the system is connected to a police response service and if so, the specific response level it warrants.

The presence of a burglar alarm, especially one that is professionally monitored, can positively influence insurance premiums and policies. Many insurers recognise the decreased risk associated with homes that have such alarm systems in place and may offer discounts on premiums for homeowners with these installations. However, the amount of discount and the policies around it may vary depending on the insurer and the type of alarm system in place.

It’s important to note that insurance companies may require homeowners to meet certain conditions to qualify for these discounts. For example, insurers might stipulate that the alarm system must be activated at all times when the property is vacant or even at night when the occupants are asleep. There could also be provisions about regular maintenance and yearly inspections by accredited professionals to ensure the system’s functionality.

Rotec Alarms encourages homeowners to think differently about their home insurance policy. Home insurance on a typical home is not particularly expensive. Discounts, if any, can be quite negligible if you answer ‘yes’ to all the insurance company’s questions. Insurance companies will still sell you a home insurance policy whether you have a burglar alarm or not. So even though I do have a burglar alarm, I always answer ‘No’ to the question, ‘Do you have a burglar alarm?’

Insurance is bought for peace of mind. But once you tell the insurance company that you have a burglar alarm, that peace of mind is diminished. As previously stated, millions of people have burglar alarms that are rarely used. Do you really want twenty questions about your burglar alarm in the event of a claim?

Rotec Alarm’s Services and Solutions

At Rotec Alarms, we pride ourselves on offering top-notch security solutions that cater precisely to the unique needs of each homeowner in Cheadle, Stockport, and the surrounding areas. Understanding that home security is not a one-size-fits-all matter, we provide customised services designed to ensure the safety and peace of mind our clients deserve.

But our commitment doesn’t stop at installation. We at Rotec Alarms understand that the effectiveness of any security system hinges on its reliability over time. This is why we emphasise the benefits of annual servicing and maintenance as part of our comprehensive service package. Regular maintenance checks are crucial in identifying any issues before they become problematic, ensuring that every component of your alarm system functions impeccably when you need it most.

Annual servicing can extend the life cycle of your alarm system, prevent false alarms, and ensure that you remain in compliance with any insurance policy requirements. With our knowledgeable technicians conducting these checks, you can be assured that your system is not only up to date but also in line with the latest safety regulations and technological advancements.

Rotec Alarms maintenance service is thorough and proactive. We don’t just fix problems; we anticipate them, which means we keep your system at its most efficient and effective, day in, day out. Our dedication to excellence in service means that you have one less thing to worry about.

In essence, by choosing Rotec Alarms, you’re not just installing an alarm system; you’re investing in a full security solution that includes state-of-the-art technology, professional expertise, and ongoing support designed to offer you the ultimate peace of mind.

Conclusion: Enhancing Home Protection

In the realm of home security, there’s a large number of considerations homeowners must consider to ensure their peace of mind and safety.

The debate between DIY and professional installations revealed that while DIY systems offer flexibility and cost-effectiveness, professional services provide expert installation, maintenance, and the valuable addition of instant notifications.

When it comes to home insurance, we’ve understood that companies regard burglar alarms as a positive risk reduction factor, but this can make very little difference to your premium. It also contracts you to the fulfilment of specific requirements, such as regular setting of the system and maintenance.

Rotec Alarms stands as a beacon of comprehensive security solutions, exemplifying through its services the profound benefits of professional installation and maintenance. The company’s alarm systems with potential police response without the burdensome cost of old-fashioned monitoring  represent the pinnacle of home protection, offering both robust deterrence and responsive action in the event of a security breach.

The overarching narrative here is crystal clear: the importance of choosing the right alarm system cannot be overstated. It’s a choice that extends beyond mere hardware—it’s about selecting a provider that understands the nuances of security and offers a tailored service that addresses your specific needs. Rotec Alarms embodies this ethos, ensuring that when you make a decision about how to protect your home, you’re equipped with the finest tools and support to keep you, your loved ones, and your possessions safe.

Remember, an alarm system is more than a device; it’s a cornerstone of your home’s defence, and with the right partner like Rotec Alarms, you can fortify this defence to its fullest potential.

Mark Rowe. Rotec Alarms Ltd.