So you’ve sent your kids to the grandparents and you have dinner reservations at eight. You’re about to leave your house, but before you do you set your burglar alarm. That way you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your house is protected whilst you’re out. But are you committing an offence?
What can happen if my alarm sounds?
Councils receive multiple complaints every year by neighbours complaining of burglar alarms being set off on their street. The majority of the time, these alarms have been set off accidentally and are sounding needlessly. Councils make every effort to contact the home owner to turn off the alarm, but failing that, they sometimes have to break into homes, and the bill gets forwarded onto the occupant. The bill can easily be in the hundreds of pounds.
Individual councils may also choose to prosecute, with prosecution fines reaching £5,000. To prevent this from happening, there are steps you can take to ensure your alarm doesn’t set off accidentally whilst you’re away from home, or if it does, that it doesn’t continue indefinitely.
What should you do if you have a burglar alarm?
In order to prevent the above, there are some steps you can take.
• Make sure your alarm has an automatic 20 minute cut out
• Regularly maintain your alarm
• Make sure your alarm is of a high quality and complies with British Standard BS4737
• Have a nominated keyholder
What is a keyholder and why do I need one?
As a result of these nuisance alarms, it has recently been added to British law, under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 / Part 7 that anyone leaving their home with a burglar alarm set, should have a nominated key holder who is able to enter the property and turn off the alarm if needed.
Your keyholder should live close to your home and get to the property within 20 minutes. They should have access to your property and know how to switch off the alarm if it is set off accidentally.
Nominating a keyholder
To register a keyholder you should contact your local council who will have a form that you can complete with the details of your property and your keyholder. These will only be used in the event that your alarm sounds accidentally.