A modern intruder alarm that works effectively and is well maintained can be a real asset in protecting your home. Unfortunately, noise made by intruder alarms is one of the most frequent causes for complaint. If you have, or are considering fitting an alarm, you have a legal responsibility to ensure that it does not cause nuisance to anyone else.
Intruder alarms and the law
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a duty on us to take abatement action when it believes a noise amounting to a statutory nuisance is taking place.
A constantly ringing intruder alarm that disturbs the sleep of people resident in the neighbourhood is, in most circumstances, considered to be a statutory nuisance under the Act.
If no one can be found to switch off the alarm then it is our responsibility to take appropriate action to abate the nuisance.
Can the council help?
Once the police have ensured that no criminal activity is taking place, and we are satisfied that a nuisance exists, we can apply to the Duty Magistrate for a warrant to enter the premises and switch off the alarm.
We also have the power to recover from the property owner, occupier any costs incurred in abating the nuisance. In addition to our own expenses, we will need to employ the services of an engineer to deactivate the alarm and a locksmith to gain entrance and secure the property afterwards.
Fitting the right alarm
Ensure that your alarm is properly designed and installed. It must comply with British Standard 4737.
- Your alarm should have a cut-off device to deactivate the siren or bell after 20 minutes.
- Have your alarm regularly maintained by a qualified engineer (this may be a requirement stipulated by your insurance company).
Remember that a constantly ringing alarm is a sure sign that no one is in.
Nominating key holders for house alarms
- Provide a list of nominated key holders to the police and our Environmental Health Service. Reputable installers will give you the necessary forms for this. Remember to notify changes to your list of key holder within 24 hours.
- Ensure that at least one of your nominated key holders can respond within 20 minutes of a call-out.
The same legislation applies to vehicle alarms and we have the same powers to abate the nuisance if the alarm is sounding. We can also recover our costs from either the registered keeper or the owner of the property if the vehicle is parked on private land.
Who do I contact if an alarm is sounding?
In the first instance, please contact Thames Valley Police on 0845 8505 505 or on 999 if a crime is being committed.
If you are having a problem with an intruder alarm in Aylesbury Vale that is not going off now, please click here to complete our form.
Date Updated: 16/12/11
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