A Police response to your monitored alarm system – will you get one?

Jul 9, 2019

Call 000 and an operator ready to help will answer the phone almost immediately. If you request assistance from the Police because you’re in the process of being robbed or have caught an intruder in the act, then you’d expect a pretty quick response from the boys in blue.

But what if it was your alarm system that detected the intruder and not you – would the Police respond? Well up until recently it was unclear, but on the 1st July 2019 a new guideline came into effect called the National Police Alarm Activation Response Guideline (it’s a mouthful, so from here on we’ll refer to is as NPAARG).

It was put together by the National Emergency Communications Working Group in consultation with the Australian Security Industry Association. Its purpose is to provide a national consistency in the way in which the Police respond to alarm activations. And to create better processes and procedures for the handling of alarm responses and a more efficient use of Police resources.

The main objectives of the NPAARG is to provide a consistent categorisation of alarm types and to identify those alarm types that the Police may not respond to, reducing the number of non-genuine alarm activations that they get called to. It’s also provided a framework for alarm monitoring providers to define the requirements for confirmation of genuine alarm activations.

So, what do this mean for you and your alarm system – will the Police respond if it’s activated? Well here’s a break-down on the different alarm categories and types to help explain:

Category A – A hold-up alarm activated at a commercial premise

This is the highest category for a Police response. It’s worth remembering though that there is a clear distinction between a hold-up alarm and a duress alarm or panic button. If the alarm is activated by person who is about to be or has been confronted by a weapon or threat of violence for the purpose of robbery, and it’s a dual-press button permanently fixed to a solid surface, then the activation may meet the requirements of category A. If it’s a wireless alarm button pressed by a panicked staff member, then the response may be a lot lower on the priority list.

Category B – Multiple alarm activations or a single alarm from a high-risk premise

If two or more sensors are activated from a monitored alarm system at the same time, then it’s a category B alarm.  The Police however will only respond if it has been confirmed that the alarm has not be activated by accident and the keys are available to enable Police to access the site within a reasonable time (deemed 30 minutes) – this is why the nominated contacts for the monitoring station are sometimes referred to as keyholders as they hold the keys to provide access for the authorities. Category B alarms also include communication failures, duress alarms and vehicle tracking alarms.

Category C – Any alarm other than those listed above

Category C is a broad one but includes any alarm other than the ones listed above, for example portable wireless alarms such as panic buttons. The police will only attend to this category though if the alarm monitoring station has confirmed or received information that offenders are on the premises – this is what our remote video verification service (RVR) offers, the ability for the monitoring station to verify to the police that a burglary is in progress and escalate the response accordingly. More news to follow soon on the exciting new development of RVR technology….

Category D – Multiple alarm activations when there is no ready access to the premises

Essentially, if your alarm system is activated and a police response is requested but no-one is available to provide them with access into the premises within a reasonable time, then it’s a category D alarm and the lowest priority. This category also includes responding to low-priority activations such as un-monitored alarms, flashing blue lights, vehicle alarms, smoke alarms, medical alarms and power outages or low battery faults.

 

There are a few other points to remember though if you’re expecting to receive a police response. Firstly, they will only respond if the alarm monitoring provider is a current member of a recognised security industry organisation and they comply with the Australian Standards for monitoring centre certification (our remote monitoring service does, in case you were wondering!).

They’ve also implemented a guide on false alarms for category A and B activations. Essentially, it’s three strikes and you’re out policy – call the police unnecessarily three times and your alarm response will be downgraded.

If you’re unsure if your current alarm arrangements will provide you with a response from the police, or if you’ve been considering upgrading your security to a monitored alarm system and not sure what response you can expect, give the team at Red Flag Systems a call on 1300 685 504.

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