It is common for most buildings and vehicles to have intruder alarms fitted. Whilst most modern alarms have an automatic cut-out device, which will stop the alarm from sounding after 20 minutes, there are still a significant number which don’t have this facility. In addition, from time to time alarms will develop a fault, which will prevent the cut-out system from working and they will sound either continuously or intermittently.
What should you do if you have an alarm?
There is a Government Code of Practice for Audible intruder alarms, which requires you to do the following:
- Ensure the system is correctly installed and maintained
- Check it has an automatic 20 minute cut-out device installed and it’s working
- Nominate a key holder for the property who can respond within about 20 minutes and who is available whilst you are away. This can be done by completing our Alarm Keyholder registration form.
If you are going away it can be useful to ask neighbours to keep an eye on the property and to let them know when you expect to be back and a contact number for yourself and/or the key holder. Doing this will mean that the neighbours will be able to get the alarm switched off quickly and hence prevent any unnecessary disturbance and loss of sleep.
What can happen if my alarm continues to sound?
If a building or vehicle alarm continues to sound and cause a nuisance to neighbours, the council will make every effort to track down the owner or any relatives. However, if the team is unable to track anybody down or find out any details relating to when the owner is expected to return they can serve a statutory notice requiring the alarm to be silenced.
If after this period the alarm continues to sound the officer may apply to the courts for a warrant to enter the building or vehicle with a view to undertake works to silence the alarm (or remove the vehicle). This may mean that officers have to break into the house or car and disarm the alarm.
Please note it is a condition of the warrant that the building or vehicle is left in a secure manner, which for buildings may mean that the locks need to be changed. With regards to vehicles most modern cars require the key to lock them and as such this may mean that the vehicle may have to be removed from the site to ensure it is kept safe.
Please note that the cost of silencing an alarm, removal and storage of vehicles and officer time will be passed on to the owner which can amount to hundreds of pounds depending on the situation.
If you are disturbed by a continuous alarm