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How Police are working to protect lone workers…a personal insight

The Police Service is working alongside the UK security industry to ensure that lone worker alarms provide effective protection and reassurance to a wide range of lone workers in front-line roles in local communities.

These devices are being used every day by workers in organisations like the NHS, Councils and Housing Associations as well as in many small to Medium-Sized Enterprises and Corporates.

Police are involved through Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (PCPI), which is widely known by its most successful venture, Secured by Design (SBD).

PCPI provides a full-time staff officer to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Security Systems Group to monitor police strategies and technical developments and advise the NPCC on policy developments.

It’s a role that includes advising police forces on the administration of police response to security systems and working with dedicated officers in every police force to provide a Unique Reference Number (URN) for each commercial and domestic client seeking a police response to their security systems, including lone worker alarms.

PCPI also accredits companies that achieve recognised industry standards for security-related products, such as lone worker alarms. This accreditation enables these businesses to be listed on the SBD website ( and use the SBD logo for sales and marketing purposes.

A personal insight into this specialist market

PCPI asked Will Murray, Chair of British Security Industry Association (BSIA) Lone Worker Section to provide his personal insight into this fast-moving sector.

Will is also Co-Founder and Marketing Director of the Send For Help Group, a major UK-based player in this specialist and global marketplace.

For the last three consecutive years, Send For Help has featured in The Sunday Times ‘Fast Track 100’ list of fastest growing companies in the UK. It has also ranked in the Financial Times ‘FT1000’ list of fastest growing companies in Europe in 2018 and the ‘FT Future 100 UK’ list as well as featuring in the 2018 London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report.

The Group has three brands in the marketplace – Skyguard, Peoplesafe and Guardian24 – which together provide personal protection 24/7 to more than 150,000 lone workers and people at risk. (Peoplesafe is the trading name of Rocksure Systems Ltd which is the name listed on the SBD website). All three of these brands have products and an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) accredited by SBD.

On the difference that accredited systems can make…

“It’s a key part of my BSIA Lone Worker Section role to promote the BS 8484 standard, which is the British Standard that governs the way providers of lone worker services operate. It was first introduced in 2009 and last updated in 2016 and is the most comprehensive lone worker standard in the world, covering every element of the service: the supplier, device/app, ARC, training, account management and response services.

“During October, the BSIA released statistics that showed that the increase in organisations and lone workers using devices and systems accredited to this standard have reduced unnecessary call outs to alarms by police forces to a tiny fraction – between 0.1-0.2% of all lone worker generated alarms. Based on the typical cost of a police response to a false alarm of £150, it is estimated that the saving to taxpayers is £60m in the last 12 months alone.

“At a time when security concerns, health and safety and police budget cuts are prevalent, the use of BS 8484 accredited systems is playing a significant role in reducing costs for police and providing a rapid and effective response to potentially life-threatening situations, backed up by digital audio recordings which can be used as evidence in court to prosecute aggressors. Perpetrators of verbal or physical abuse can be also brought to justice via the speed of police response and the evidence the lone worker devices capture.”

On the BS 8484 standard…

“BS 8484 is a world leading standard, developed in collaboration by the UK’s lone worker industry, police and relevant stakeholders, and is a shining example of Britain pioneering new technology on the global stage.

“Employers utilising BS 8484 accredited systems are fulfilling their legal and moral duty of care to their staff, which protects them against damaging litigation and demonstrates their Corporate Social Responsibility. Employees using BS 8484 accredited systems are receiving the best possible personal safety services, allowing them to focus on their job and improving morale.

“The NPCC state that police will only give an immediate response to lone worker alarms if the system provided is certified by audit to BS 8484 and a URN has been issued by the police. That makes compliance vital!”

How lone worker devices and systems work

On lone workers…

“GPS enabled devices fitted with mobile phone technology are used by a wide range of lone workers. These are individuals who work by themselves, without close or direct supervision. Lone workers, who may also be referred to as mobile workers or remote workers, include such roles as parking enforcement officers, community nurses, construction workers and estate agents.”

On alerts…

“Lone workers can raise the alarm wherever they are and whatever the time. They are able to transmit amber and red alerts. Amber alerts allow a voice message to be left providing details about who they are meeting, the address, nature of the task and any potential risk. A timer can also be set to automatically raise an alarm if it is not cancelled. A red alert will signify an actual incident.”

On Alarm Receiving Centres…

“Alerts will be sent to a 24/7 ARC. Their controllers will engage in communications with lone workers and response services. They identify the user and pin-point the user’s precise location via the device’s GPS and communicate with them if it’s safe to do so; or simply, silently listen-in. The calls are filtered effectively so that only the ones that require immediate response are passed to police. Using police URNs, we are able to bypass the 999 system and contact the local constabulary directly, saving vital minutes in an emergency. Filtering the calls in this way leads to a huge reduction in demand on police forces at a time when police resources and budgets are under intense pressure. We were the first to introduce a purpose-built ARC in the UK to be certified to the highest standards, including BS 8484, and accredited by SBD.”

Comment from PCPI Compliance Manager, Ken Meanwell:

“It is encouraging to see how new technologies deployed by police compliant lone worker companies are playing a vital role in not only improving employees' safety, but also dramatically reducing false calls enabling valuable police resources to be correctly allocated.”


Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (PCPI) runs a wide range of crime prevention initiatives and activities on behalf of the Police Service throughout the UK. These services include Secured by Design. We seek to achieve sustainable reductions in crime through design and other approaches to help people live in a safer society. We believe we are the world’s most successful crime prevention initiative.

Secured by Design

SBD is the national police crime prevention initiative, which works to prevent crime in the built environment. More than one million homes have been built to SBD crime prevention standards over the last 30 years with reductions in crime of up to 87%.

Tel: 0203 8623 999