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The Secured by Design Alarm Standard

Security systems are one of the many essential tools in the fight against crime, and in particular burglary, theft and robbery. Previous academic research shows professionally installed alarm systems provide a greater deterrent and properties fitted out with them are less likely to be targeted by criminals, who know they may well be monitored. Burglars want easy pickings and avoid properties with effective security.

However, a key point to note is the police will attend an alarm signal from a monitored alarm as long as the system complies with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (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 (National Security Inspectorate - or the SSAIB (Security Systems & Alarm Inspection Board - and registered with the local police force. 

Secured by Design have launched an alarm standard for alarm installation companies. The new 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 (NPCC SSP) 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 also reduce false calls.

False calls to the police reduced from 1,188,386 in 1995 to 106,374 in 2019 thanks to the police and the security industry working together, reducing the demand on police time and resources considerably. The number of burglaries from properties with police compliant security systems also reduced significantly from 135,990 in 1995 to 14,402 in 2019.

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Compliant alarm systems and reputable installation companies are essential to ensure that you will get the appropriate response to an alarm activation. If the system is not compliant you may not get a police response, something which could be vital if someone is in immediate danger or property is being stolen.

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.

Find out more about the SBD Alarm Standard for alarm installation companies here

To register interest in becoming a police recognised alarm system installer, please visit

Ken Meanwell is the Compliance Manager at Police Crime Prevention Initiatives, who operate the Secured by Design (SBD) initiative.  He also provides the secretariat for the National Police Chiefs’ Council 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.