SBD News

New national police lead for security systems appointed

Deputy Chief Constable Ciaron Irvine has been appointed as the National Police lead for security systems.

Ciaron will oversee the National Police Chiefs’ Council Security Systems Group and associated Security Systems Policy, which monitors police strategies and technical developments and advises on police requirements in respect of security systems.

Born in Liverpool, Ciaron Irvine initially moved to the North-East to study at Durham University prior to joining the police service in 1994.  His family has strong links with policing over many generations, with many of his close relatives serving as police officers or elsewhere in public service as health professionals.

Ciaron began his career at Cleveland Police where he worked in mainly uniform and specialist operations/support roles, including time as Head of the force Control Room, Criminal Justice and as a District Commander. As a Chief Superintendent in Cleveland, he set up the Force Tasking & Coordination Command, learning lessons from the Durham model at the time.  In that role he had responsibility for daily operational tasking, the management of intelligence and force performance.

DCC Ciaron Irvine
He is an accredited firearms, public order and multi-agency gold commander with experience of major public and sporting events at all levels.

More recently, Ciaron served as Temporary Assistant Chief Constable in both Cleveland and North Yorkshire, before moving in November 2021 to become Deputy Chief Constable at Durham Constabulary.

As well as being the NPCC lead for security systems, Ciaron is national NPCC lead for prosecutions and case file progression, and North East regional lead for prevention.

A keep-fit fanatic through regular football, gym and dog walking, Ciaron is married to a primary school teacher and the couple have two adult sons.

Ciaron said: “Security systems are one of the many essential tools in the fight against crime, and in particular burglary, theft and robbery. Academic research shows professionally installed and maintained alarm systems provide a greater deterrent and properties fitted out with them are less likely to be targeted by criminals.

“I’m pleased to take up this role, working with industry and the service to further reduce unnecessary activations, improve standards and relationships across all parties and ultimately improve safety and reduce susceptibility to crime for those engaged with the scheme.”

NPCC Security Systems Policy

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Security Systems Policy is a public document designed to provide details of how and when the police will respond to security system activations. It also sets out the technical and procedural requirements that the private security industry, involved in providing the installation, maintenance and monitoring of such systems, must follow in order to gain a police response to a security system on behalf of their customers.

The objectives of the policy can be summarised as follows:

  • To reduce the number of false calls passed to the police
  • To provide an immediate police response to compliant security systems
  • To provide guidance to the public and security companies on police response to non-compliant systems
  • To place responsibility for compliance with the policy on a UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accredited certification body. Enforcement of standards is not a police function
  • To achieve a unified approach to the administration process

Installers who wish to be compliant with police forces in order to install, maintain and monitor security systems for police response must:

  • First of all be certified in accordance with the policy by a certification body accredited by UKAS
  • When accredited, the security company needs to apply to the home force where its principal operating/registered office is based requesting to be placed on that force’s compliant list of companies.

Partnership approach

The NPCC Security Systems Group work closely with the national alarm inspectorate bodies and trade organisations for the security industry – the National Security Inspectorate (NSI); the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB); the Fire and Security Association (FSA) and the British Security Industry Association (BSIA). This work seeks to progress a partnership approach with the private security industry, specifically to improve the performance of security systems and increase the preventative impact and detection rate emanating from such systems.

Since 1995 there have been 1.1 million fewer calls to police to respond to false alarms or alarms involving faulty equipment, reducing from 1,188,386 in 1995 to 85,146 in 2020 despite the number of registered alarm systems almost doubling. The number of burglaries from properties with police compliant security systems has also reduced significantly from 135,990 in 1995 to 11,109 in 2020.

Compliant alarm systems

The police will attend an alarm signal from a monitored alarm as long as the system complies with the aforementioned NPCC Security Systems Policy, which details how the system is installed, monitored and maintained. It also requires security companies providing this service to be approved by an Independent Inspectorate Body - the NSI or SSAIB and registered with the local police force.

Therefore when choosing an alarm system, it is recommended that you should only use an alarm company which is approved by one of the Independent Inspectorate Bodies. Anyone can check out an installer’s credentials on the Inspectorates’ websites to ensure that a security company has the correct certification to install intruder alarm systems - www.nsi.org.uk and www.ssaib.org.

Compliant alarms and reputable installation companies and ARCs are essential to ensure that there is an appropriate response to an alarm activation. If the alarm is not compliant, there will not be an immediate police response, something that could be vital if someone is in immediate danger or property is being stolen.

Having an alarm system certified by one of the accredited independent Inspectorate Bodies will ensure it is a reliable and well-maintained system that meets relevant British and European standards and which could result in lower insurance premiums.

Further improvement

The ECHO alarm transfer service, a collaborative venture between the NPCC and the Alarms industry, 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 the blue light responder. This can save up to between 1 and 4 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 and Northumbria constabularies following in 2022. With over 240,000 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.

The official police security initiative Secured by Design (SBD) have launched an alarm standard for alarm installation companies. This enhanced alarm standard will ensure a high quality alarm system and give customers enhanced levels of reassurance that an alarm installation company meets the exacting standards of the Police Service.

This new standard is not a replacement for the National Police Chiefs’ Council Security Systems Policy or an alternative for certification by one of the UKAS accredited certification bodies, the aforementioned NSI or SSAIB.  It incorporates existing criteria, whilst building on police and industry knowledge to produce a new enhanced Alarm Standard that will provide a high quality alarm system and reduce false calls.

Installers meeting the SBD alarm standard now have the option of joining this SBD scheme, following an assessment from their respective Alarm Inspectorate body, enabling buyers to have confidence in installers utilising the trusted ‘Police Preferred Specification’ branding.

For further information on police security systems, please visit https://www.policesecuritysystems.com/

To find out more about the SBD Alarm Standard for alarm installation companies, please visit https://www.policesecuritysystems.com/secured-by-design-alarm-standard

To register interest in becoming a police recognised alarm system installer, please visit https://www.policesecuritysystems.com/contact-us