Police Response to Intruder Alarms

Police Response to Intruder Alarms

ACPO (The Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland), who specify Police Force/Constabulary Service guidelines, introduced a new policy in 2000 on Police Response. This policy has been reviewed and is now referred to as the ACPO Policy on Police Response to Security Systems (April 2006).


The ACPO Policy guidelines state that the Police Force will only attend monitored intruder alarms that ‘confirm’ alarm activations, whereas previously, the Police would respond at the first activation without requiring confirmation. Normally, an alarm is considered ‘confirmed’ when a second detection device is activated during the same intrusion. This verifies that there is definite movement at the premises and therefore there is less chance of the activation being a false alarm.


When the first activation is received by the ARC, they are able to notify a keyholder but are unable to notify the Police. When the second activation is received (‘confirmed’) by the ARC the Police are notified. This is Police Response Level 1.


There are 2 levels of Police Response. These are summarised as follows:


Level 1 – Immediate Response

All monitored intruder alarm systems are assigned a Level 1 status when they are first installed – i.e. the Police respond immediately when the ARC has confirmed an activation, as outlined above.


In the Original ACPO Policy if the Police are called to respond to 2 false alarms within any 12 month period, the Police response would fall to Level 2. Since the introduction of the ACPO 2010 Policy, this Level 2 response is no longer employed by nearly all Police constabularies.  Instead, if the Police are called to respond to 3 false alarms within any 12 month period, the Police response will fall to Level 3 and Police response would be withdrawn.


Level 3 (there is no longer a level 2) – No Police attendance unless an offence is witnessed as taking place

Police will not attend a Level 3 alarm unless a member of the public contacts them to say that they have witnessed a crime taking place. This may affect the insurance cover of the property. Systems will remain at Level 3 status until they have been free from false call-outs for a period of over 3 months and only after they have been upgraded to meet the latest Police requirements.  Even after response has been re-instated, it will only be to confirmed activations.



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