Posted: 2nd May 2014


Well my recent musings regarding a national security company’s £99 monitored home security systems being a bit useless have caused a bit of a stir so I thought it only right to look at it in a bit more detail.

The dictionary definition of the word alarm is:                                                                     

“A sudden fear or distressing suspense caused by an awareness of danger, apprehension or fright or any sound, outcry or information intended to warn of approaching danger or an automatic device that serves to call attention.”

Throughout history we have used ever more imaginative methods to raise an alarm. They lit beacons when the Armada was spotted. They rang church bells when invasion was suspected. The air raid sirens wailed across London during the blitz. Then there was a whistle or bell designed to warn a bobby on the beat of a problem. The bobby and the bell was superseded by the siren which had flashing lights and strobes lights all designed to attract attention. Then it stopped there. Job done? No it wasn’t job done.

We are all aware that people ignore alarms going off and it’s not only the public that ignore them. From an archived piece in the Daily Telegraph dated as far back as 2001 a statement on behalf of the Guilford police force reads “ the officer said that in excess of 99% of domestic alarms are false, adding ‘if there is merely an alarm ringing we do not, as a matter of course, attend’.” Chief Supt Rowley said “officers would attend if a caller reported other suspicious circumstances such as breaking glass or seeing potential suspects. He said it was a national approach and not just one adopted in Surrey”

Investing in a home security system is a major expense. It is an expense that we begrudge paying but for many it gives peace of mind. As technology improved domestic security systems which are monitored by an alarm receiving centre became more affordable but which type of monitoring are you paying for?

As I wrote in my previous blog the purveyors of the £99 system are only offering key holder response. These key holders need to attend your property if your alarm goes off either in anger or by mistake, how they determine which it is I can’t be sure but they insist they filter out false alarms. See my previous blog re Billy the burglar. So when choosing your key holders you could nominate for Mrs Smith next door ( who is kind to your kids at Christmas, seems trustworthy and always keeps an eye on your property when you are away, but is 93 years of age) or do you go with Bob your brother in law (built like a brick outhouse and owns a couple of Rottweiler’s  but lives twenty minutes away plus goes down the pub nearly every night  and renders himself incapable of driving). Then there is always that rather dodgy looking bloke from number 26 (doesn’t appear to have a regular job but seems to be able to afford all of life’s little luxuries such as a 52” plasma TV, a fancy watch, a fancy mobile phone, a fancy sports car and 3 foreign holidays a year) It’s a difficult choice.

I also note that £24.99 per month monitoring fee rises to £26.99 if you have a monitored smoke detector and to £27.99 if you have the cheek to ask for a monitored panic button.

Before you make that commitment to spend your hard earned cash take a look at the Alarm Monitoring Company website. If your alarm goes off and we detect an intruder through our two way interactive monitoring system we challenge the burglar with a real human voice and not a “disorientating internal sounder” and more importantly we call the police and not Bob and his dogs down at the Dog and Duck and let’s just hope the intruder isn’t that dodgy bloke from number 26!