False Alarms

false-alarms

Audible Intruder Alarms are widely used to protect property from unauthorised entry. Unfortunately they may be triggered by a fault in the system causing a noise problem for nearby neighbours, especially if it occurs frequently.

Complaints are usually due to the duration of the alarm rather than to the actual volume. Under the Control of Pollution (Code of Practice on Noise from Audible Intruder Alarms) Order 1982, it is recommended that all alarm systems should have an automatic cut off device fitted to stop the alarm sounding after 20 minutes. You should log details of reliable key holders to your premises with your local Council's Environmental Protection Team. This is not a legal obligation, but can save time and expense if your alarm goes off.

What do I do if an alarm is going off?

  • If you suspect a forced entry to the property contact the police immediately.
  • Talk to neighbours to see if there are any key-holders and when the owners are expected to return.
  • If the alarm continues after 20 minutes then contact your Council's Environmental Protection Team.
they will check our database to see if a key-holder exists. If it does, then they will contact them to disable the alarm.

If no details are available, or the key-holder is not available, and it is not known if the householders are due home soon then they can send an  officer to assess the noise for nuisance. If the noise from the alarm is deemed to be a Statutory Nuisance then formal action will be taken by the officer.
This will involve the service of a Noise Abatement Notice under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. If the notice is not complied with - i.e. the sounder turned off within 20 minutes - the officer can arrange for an alarm company to disable the alarm from the outside. This may mean that the property is no longer covered by the alarm until reset.

Dont try contacting the alarm company youself as they cannot do anything without an officer present.

Any costs incurred by the Council is usually recovered from the owner. This could amount to several hundred pounds if over a Bank Holiday weekend.
They would prefer not to take this kind of action and if alarm holders could register a key-holder who could be contacted 24 hours a day this could save money and be less irritating to neighbours.

What You Can do

Complete a key-holder's form (Alarm Registration Form). 

Ensure your alarm has a 20-minute cut-off and is serviced on a regular basis
When taking over an existing alarm have it serviced to ensure it is working correctly.

Remember:

Your alarm is there to protect your property, but if the alarm sounds often it may be ignored and is therefore not doing its intended job.