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False alarm calls showed a further fall last year, Ken Meanwell told the recent NSI Installer Summit in Birmingham. The total of false alarms fell 11pc compared with the year before, down to 120,000. That’s a mere fraction of the 1.5m or more a generation ago.
Ken Meanwell, pictured, of Police CPI (Crime Prevention Initiatives Limited) which includes Secured by Design, hailed the fall as ‘absolutely first class’ thanks to police and the security industry working together; ‘and long may that continue’. The former police inspector and long-time liaison man described himself as a ‘honest broker’ between police and the private security industry. Replying to a question from NSI chief Richard Jenkins on the stage of the Summit at the Vox Conference Centre, about the advantage to an alarm user having a URN (unique reference number) over the general 999 emergency number, Ken Meanwell replied that the main advantage was speed of police response. With 999, you go through an operator, then to a police call-taker, asking you who you are and where the problem is, ‘and it all takes time; and they may give you a police response’. From the URN, police know where you are; and if you are the user of a hold-up alarm, that gets a high priority.
Ken Meanwell, compliance manager for Police CPI, gave an update on electronic transfer of alarms, as being trialled by police in the Met, Avon and Somerset and Northamptonshire force areas. An alarm receiving centre will pass the alarm activation digitally to the police control room, rather than to a police call taker. He described that as faster and more efficient, and a fail-safe method, in case premises are not recognised. He did raise the issue of cost; but working with the industry and the NSI (National Security Inspectorate), he spoke of making headway; and looking to the Home Office for funding, ‘because it’s for everybody’s benefit’.
He spoke of key-holders as important, especially if a crime is in progress; and appealed for key-holders not to be ‘150 miles away’; nor ought two key-holders ought to be from the same house, in case they are away at the same time, on holiday.
Speaking earlier to Professional Security, Ken Meanwell said that electronic transfer has been coming in for two years and trials have been successful without issues. A working group between police and industry is seeing how best to progress the technology within the next two years.
More on the Installer Summit in the May 2017 print issue of Professional Security magazine.