“ECHO is an absolute game changer”
Ken Meanwell, the Compliance Manager at Police Crime Prevention Initiatives, extolled the virtues of the ECHO (Electronic Call Handling Operations) initiative to a packed audience at the 2023 Secured by Design (SBD) ATLAS national training conference and exhibition.
Ken, who also provides the secretariat for the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Security Systems Group and works closely with leading certification and trade bodies for the security industry to ensure the technical standards and codes of practice are adhered to, told delegates that ECHO is an absolute game changer when it comes to police response to alarm calls.
The NPCC are currently working with the alarms industry towards having alarm activations from compliant systems passed electronically, direct from alarm receiving centres (ARCs) into police control rooms, via the development of ECHO.
Ken said “ECHO is an absolute game changer, revolutionising the way we deal with alarm calls and improving response times. No matter how big or how small your force is, you will benefit from ECHO.
“Automation is the way forward, we are always looking to improve on response times, and ECHO achieves this by ensuring a response in seconds as opposed to minutes, as well as freeing up call handlers to deal with the essential work that they do in respect of 999 and 101 calls”.
The ECHO alarm transfer service, is currently being rolled out to police forces across the country and facilitates greater effectiveness in police response to emergency alarms. It is a fully automated electronic alarm transmission service between ECHO-connected ARCs and the police, eliminating communication errors and delays associated with manual telephone call handling, to ultimately provide a quicker police response.
ECHO delivers time savings in circumstances where ‘every second counts’ as blue light services respond to emergency alarms. Alarm signalling to the police via the ECHO hub replaces traditional manual handling of alarm calls (by voice calls) between the ARC and police control rooms. This can save on average up to 3 minutes in response times by the police.
The Metropolitan Police and Essex Police were the first forces to be ECHO-connected in 2021, with Avon & Somerset, Northumbria, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, the City of London, Kent, Hertfordshire and Greater Manchester constabularies following on, with Merseyside and Hampshire now in test mode.
With over 300,000 alarm installations now ECHO-connected and supported by ECHO, tangible benefits are already being delivered, including improved police alarm response times and more effective deployment of police responders to ECHO-connected alarmed premises.