Audible intruder alarms are widely used to protect property from unauthorised entry. Unfortunately they may be triggered by a fault in the system causing a noise problem for nearby neighbours, especially if it occurs frequently. Complaints are usually due to the duration of the alarm rather than to the actual volume.
Under the Control of Pollution (code of practice on noise from audible intruder alarms) Order 1982, all alarm systems should have an automatic cut out device fitted to stop the alarm sounding after 20 minutes.
If you live within the Surrey Heath area you should log details of reliable key holders to your premises with the SurPol Keyholder Service. This is not a legal obligation but can save time and expense if it goes off.
Surpol is run by a contractor for Surrey Police and once registered ensures that the Police can contact someone in the event of an alarm activation.
These details are kept on a confidential database and are only contacted if your alarm is reported as sounding.
What do I do if an alarm is going off?
1. If you suspect a false entry to the property contact the police immediately
2. Talk to neighbours to see if there are any key holders and when the owners are expected to return
3. If the alarm continues after 20 minutes then contact the Council's Environmental Health Department on 01276 707100
We will check the database to see if a key-holder exists. If it does then we will contact them to disable the alarm.
If no details are available, or if the key holder is not available, and it is not known if the householders are due home soon then an officer will visit to assess the noise for nuisance. If the noise from the alarm is deemed to be a Statutory Nuisance then formal action will be taken by the officer.
This will involve the serving of a noise abatement notice under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. If the notice is not complied with - ie. sounder not turned off within 20 minutes - the officer will arrange for an alarm company to disable the alarm from the outside. This may mean that the property is no longer covered by the alarm until reset.
Any costs incurred by the Council will be recovered from the owner. This could amount to several hundred pounds if over a Bank Holiday weekend. We would prefer not to take this kind of action and if alarm holders could register a key holder who could be contacted 24 hours this could save money and be less irritating to neighbours.
What can you do?
Ensure your alarm has a 20 minute cut out and is serviced on a regular basis
When taking over an existing alarm have it serviced to ensure it is working correctly.
If we are unable to take your complaint forward or you wish to deal with the problem yourself you can make a complaint under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Contact the Clerks to the Magistrates at your local court and explain that you wish to make a complaint under Section 80 of the above Act.