Monitoring intruder alarm systems

With so many signalling options on the market these days it’s not easy to decide what’s best for your property.  This page introduces intruder alarm monitoring and overviews the different types (active, passive, dual-path, etc) and introduces the credible carriers and their products.

Audible only – no alarm monitoring

If an audible only intruder alarm is triggered, an external sounder on your premises activates for up to 15 minutes; however, these are often ignored as nothing more than a nuisance.  So if the premise is away from passing traffic or it’s the middle of the night, there’s unlikely to be any reaction.

NB: Audible only alarms do not receive an automatic police response; in line with the latest police policy (the ACPO Policy on Police Response to Security Systems (April 2012)), reports to the police of activated sounders will NOT receive a police response; a third party (ie a neighbour) would need to confirm witnessing the premises is in the process of being broken into before the police would attend.

Monitored security systems

For increased security you may wish to have your security system monitored.  A monitored alarm is one that is linked via internet connection or cellular network or both to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC).

NB: An ARC is a permanently manned monitoring centre whose staff are dedicated to monitoring security systems and contacting the right Authority – i.e. the police usually, or the Fire & Rescue Service (FRS) in the case of a fire – if there is an activation.  An ARC is bound by strict legislation which ensures the highest standards of operation.

Passive alarm monitoring

Relic digital communicators send alarm signals but do not send polling signals to check whether the phone line is present as it should be making them vulnerable to attack.  If the phone line is damaged, or indeed intentionally cut, the alarm signal cannot reach the ARC and the ARC is unaware if there is a problem with the line.

NB: Passive monitoring = phone-line dependent; 
if the phone line is cut the alarm will not reach the monitoring centre and they will be unable to call the Police.

Active alarm monitoring

These days, alarm communicators actively poll the ARC to verify the phone line is present, and this is known as ‘active’ monitoring. The polling frequency differs between communication products and this can determine their signalling grade suitability (insurers are usually responsible for grading systems – grade 1 being the most secure).

Active alarm monitoring using two signalling paths

In 1996, CSL DualCom invented integrated dual signalling and pioneered the move from wired to wireless technology in the electronic security industry. DualCom is now trusted to protect over 350,000 premises throughout Europe including many major retail brands.

Dual path signalling means an internet connection and a radio path (using IP and GPRS or GPRS and GPRS) are both used – and if either of the paths is attacked the other continues to communicate any further alarms and – unless the missing path is restored – the next alarm will transmit as a ‘confirmed’ activation (read more about alarm confirmation).

CSL DualCom Pro® is capable of sending confirmed activations even if the radio path or internet connection fails, and if they both fail, this represents two alarms and a confirmed alarm is passed to the police. This makes them the most secure methods of monitoring an intruder alarm.

The DualCom Pro® range is the UK’s fastest-selling and most used dual signalling system.  It’s an extremely reliable product that can be installed on a single hardware platform for any grade of risk.

Both carriers use intelligent network selecting technology – meaning that the system can use any of the major cellular networks to communicate – and when an alarm occurs, the strongest signal is used to communicate to the ARC.

Our ‘police response‘ page highlights how, due to police guidelines, all new remotely monitored systems must be capable of sending two alarm signals to the monitoring centre.  This gives added ‘confirmation’ that an intruder is on the premises and that the alarm is not false.

Our ‘alarm confirmation‘ page explains how the alarm ‘confirms’ an activation and the three types of confirmation available.

Our ‘Alarm Status Signals‘ page lays-out our monitored alarm status signals policy and how we contact keyholders in regards to different signals.

Back to the main Intruder Alarms page.

  • Paul Moody Chichester, West Sussex

    Both the system designer and the install team were excellent. I am really pleased with the end result.

  • Mrs M Munday Portsmouth, Hampshire

    The technician was helpful and explained what he was doing, making me feel at ease about the service visit and even showed me new features that we can use.

  • Mrs Hulmes Andover, Hampshire

    Asked questions and checked we were happy – nothing too much trouble…and all with a positive approach and a smile!

  • Mr P Mxxxxx Titchfield, Hampshire

    All CIA staff seem to be friendly and keen to provide a good service

  • Miss T Hxxxxx Churt, Surrey

    Designer was quite thorough with information and very prompt quote. Engineer is excellent and we will gladly have him back here for maintenance or future issue.

  • Ms E Cxxxxx Emsworth, Hampshire

    Engineer turned up on the date and time specified. Did a good job and left the house tidy. The alarm works. Job done!

  • Mrs E Mxxxxx Havant, Hampshire

    Engineer was polite, well groomed and very helpful. Even my husband who is partially sighted understood how to use the system. The engineer even used the vacuum cleaner.

  • Mr Bxxxxx Portchester, Hampshire

    CIA is always there when you need them.

  • Mr P Mxxxxx Fareham, Hampshire

    All CIA staff seem to be friendly and keen to provide a good service.

  • Mrs P Wxxx Waterlooville, Hampshire

    One employee was the one who liaised with me every time I rang, rather than being passed from pillar to post.