The Environmental Health Department has a set procedure for
dealing with audible alarms. This helps to ensure that we use
every option available in tracking down the house-holder or
premises owner and also demonstrates to a Magistrate that we are
not taking formal action lightly.
Most complaints relate to alarms that fail to cut out after 20
minutes of activation or, those alarms that do switch off but then
switch themselves back on again and sound either continuously or
intermittently for long periods.
Once we have received a complaint about an alarm we try a number
of information sources in efforts to track down the premises
owner/occupier. This includes our own key holder database, the
police and, where there is a number on the alarm box, the
installer. We will also ask the person complaining for any
information or details that they may have about the homeowner which
could be useful to us during this search.
Where we have not been able to contact the homeowner we will
attend the premises and witness the alarm sounding; this has to be
for a minimum period of 20 minutes. At the end of this time we are
required to serve a formal notice (Abatement Notice) giving a
20-minute period by which the alarm must be deactivated. Of course,
if we have been unable to locate the householder previously it is
very rare that they arrive home during this period and put things
right. During this 20-minute period we often spend our time
knocking on doors and asking other neighbours whether they have any
information that could help.
After this time we have to approach a Magistrate either directly
through the Courts, or if the incident is outside officer hours, at
home. We then provide evidence to the Magistrate that allows them
to issue a warrant for an officer to gain entry into the property
to disconnect the alarm. This does not necessarily mean entrance
directly into the house or business, but may involve deactivation
at the external alarm box on the wall.
To help us with disconnection we employ the services of
carpenters, locksmiths and electricians; whom we call ultimately
depends upon individual circumstances. We then take whatever means
necessary to deactivate the alarm; we always have to ensure that a
property can be suitably secured after our work and also that the
person deactivating the alarm is not put under a health and safety
Where it has been necessary to deactivate an alarm in this way,
the householder or owner is charged for specialist and officer
services; this can be in the region of £200.00.
So, to make sure that you don't come back from work or your well
earned holiday to a bill of £200.00 why not join our key holder
registration scheme. The service confidential and well worth the 10
minutes it takes to fill out and return the form.
Alternatively you can contact us for a registration form and
return it in the post or complete over the telephone.